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Presented to the 
LIBRARY of the 

the estate of 

J. Stuart Fleming 


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in 2015 



G.C.B., D.C.L. ( Oxon .), LL.D., Q.C., P.C. 




“There does not exist in Canada a man who has given more of his time, 
more of his heart, more of his wealth, or more of his intellect and powers, such as 
they may be, for the good of this Dominion of Canada .” — Sir John in 1873. 




Entered according to Act of Parliament of Canada, in the year 1891, by Lt. 
Col. J. PenninCxTON Macpherson, in the office of the Minister of 

James Murray & Co. 
Printers and Bookbinders 



Meeting of Parliament, January 19, 1865 — References to Confederation in the 
Speech — Mr. Macdonald moves an Address to Her Majesty on the 
subject — His speech — Resolutions carried by 91 to 33 — Prorogation, 
March 18th — Deputation to England. . . . . 13 



Opposition to Confederation in Nova Scotia — Archbishop Connolly’s Letter — 
Death of Sir E. P. Tache — Re-organization of the Cabinet under Sir 
Narcisse Belleau — Termination of the Reciprocity Treaty of 1854 — 
Extracts from Debates in Congress — History of Reciprocity — Mr. 
Derby’s Report — The Globe’s editorial thereon — The Fenian Organi- 
zation —Raids on Canada — Archbishop Connolly’s Letter to the 
Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick — Honourable D’Arcy Mc- 
Gee’s denunciation of Fenianism — Meeting of Delegates in London 
—Passage of the Confederation Act — Birth of the Dominion of Canada 
July 1, 1867. . 57 



Sir John A. Macdonald the first Premier of the Dominion — List of Ministers — 
Reform Convention — The policy of the party — The position of the 
Reform members of the Ministry — General election — Meeting of first 
Dominion Parliament, November 7, 1867 — The Intercolonial Railway 
— North-West Resolutions — Assassination of Mr. McGee — Pacification 
of Nova Scotia — Mr. Howe enters the Ministry — Departure of Lord 
Monck and arrival of Lord Lisgar — Second session of Parliament 
April 15, 1869 — Mr. McKenzie’s Resolutions on Intercolonial Railway 
— “ Better terms ” for Nova Scotia — Reconstruction of Cabinet — Red 
River troubles — Third Session of Parliament February 15, 1870 — The 
commercial policy of the Opposition — A Zollvereign with the United 
States advocated — Sir John Macdonald’s opposition — Honourable 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

Charles Tupper enters the Cabinet — Fourtn Session of Parliament 
February 15, 1871 — British Columbia Resolutions — The Joint High 
Commission — Honourable Alexander Campbell’s mission to England — 
Official correspondence — Names of Commissioners — Sir A. T. Galt’s 
resolutions — The Globe's article thereon— Sir John Macdonald’s diffi- 
cult position. .... ... 90 


Sir John Macdonald’s speech in introducing the Bill to carry into effect the 
provisions of the Washington Treaty, May 3, 1872 — The clauses of 
which the Bill was composed — Possible objections to mode of intro- 
duction considered — The power of the House to accept or reject — 
Reference to the reciprocity treaty of 1854 — Rights of Canada to the in- 
shore fisheries — Liability of the United States for the Fenian raids — The 
Alabama Claims — Sir John Macdonald’s appointment — Recognition of 
Canada’s right to the in-shore fisheries — The difficulties of Sir John’s 
position — The Canadian Government insists upon its right to control 
the fisheries — Proceedings of the Commission — Reciprocity offered in 
coal, salt, fish and lumber — But withdrawn because Canadian Parlia- 
ment had made them free — Criticisms replied to — The Lake and 
Pacific fisheries reserved — Attitude of American fishermen — Conse- 
quences of rejecting the Treaty. . . * .110 


Sir John Macdonald’s speech on the Washington Treaty continued — The 
validity of former treaties with the United States considered — Judge 
Pomeroy’s opinion — Disputes set at rest by the Washington Treaty — 

The free navigation of the St. Lawrence — Opinion of Mr. Phillimore 
— Canada retains sole control of the canals — Free navigation of Alaska 
rivers — The St. Clair flats — The bonding system — The San Juan 
boundary — The Fenian raid claims not included in the questions 
submitted — England’s responsibility — A guaranteed loan — The great 
importance of accepting the Treaty. . . . .146 



The Pacific Railway — Sir George Cartier’s Resolutions, April, 1872 — Mr. 
Mackenzie’s opposition— Arrival of Lord Dufferin — Dissolution of 
Parliament — General Election— Admission of Prince Edward Island — 
The Pacific Railway Slander — Mr. Huntingdon’s Resolutions — Sir 
John Macdonald’s motion for a Special Committee— Reports of the 
Committee — The Oath’s Bill — Publication of Letters — Sir Hugh 
Allan’s Affidavit — Adjournment to August 13th — Memorial of the 
Opposition — Lord Dufferin’s reply — Prorogation — Sir John Mac- 
donald’s position — The Royal Commission — Meeting of Parliament — 
Mr. Mackenzie’s Amendment to the Address — Sir John’s Speech — 



Resignation of the Ministry — The Stolen Letters — Character of the 
Witnesses against the Ministry — The Mackenzie Government — Disso- 
lution of Parliament — General Elections— Meeting of new Parliament, 
March 1874 — Pacific Railway Resolutions — Other Bills — Prorogation. 1 77 


Sir John Macdonald elected Leader of the Opposition — His attitude towards 
the Government — His National Policy Resolution, March 10, 1876 — 

The Norfolk demonstration — Address from the Liberal- Conservative 
Association — Sir John’s speech — He advocates a Policy of Protection 
to all classes of Industry — Address of Mr. Thomas White, jr. , at Lon- 
don — Retrospect of Canadian Tariff Legislation — Mr. Granger’s 
opinion of the effect of Protection — The views of Horace Greeley 
and of Henry Clay — The destruction of the direct tea trade — The 
effect of Protection on the masses — Does it build up colossal fortunes ? 

— England and the United States compared — The mutual interests of 
the people in the Protective System — Opinion of General Jackson — 

The value of a home market — Protection does not increase prices — 

The policy is appropriate to Canada — Reciprocity considered — Legis- 
lation must be for Canadian interests— Protection resolution carried at 
a meeting of the Dominion Board of Trade. . . 207 


General Election September 17, 1878 — Defeat of the Mackenzie Government 
— Sir John Macdonald forms a new Government — Departure of Lord 
Dufferin — Lord Lome and H. R. H. the Princess Louise — The 
National Policy Resolutions, March 14, 1879 — Sir Leonard Tilley’s 
Speech — A short summary of his political history — Death of the Hon- 
ourable George Brown— A memorial statue erected in Queen’s Park — 
Tributes to his memory by Honourable Oliver Mowat and Honourable 
George Allan. ........ 254 


The Canadian Pacific Railway — Visit of Sir John Macdonald and others to 
England, July 10, 1880 — Formation of Syndicate — The contract before 
Parliament — Speech of Sir Charles Tupper— His review of the history 
of the railway — The Poiicy of the Government — The cost contrasted 
with that of previous plans — The character of the Syndicate — The 
Security — The intentions and responsibilities of the Syndicate- 
Exemption from taxation — Prohibition of competing lines — The 
results hoped for. ....... 290 


Opposition objections to the Pacific Railway Contract — Mr. Blake’s public 
meetings — The policy he advocated — Sir John Macdonald’s speech — 
He gives the history of 'previous negotiations — Criticizes Mr. Blake’s 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

scheme — Discusses the clauses of the contract seriatim — And ably 
defends the policy of the Government — A short account of the Canadian 
members of the Syndicate, Lord Mount-Stephen, Sir Donald A. Smith 
Mr. Angus and Mr. McIntyre and of the President, Mr. W. C. 
VanHorne. . . . . . . .316 


Dissolution of Parliament, 1882 — Results of General Election — Sir John Mac- 
donald’s trip to England, October, 1884 — The guest of the Prince of 
Wales at Sandringham — Dinner in his honour at the Beaconsfield 
Club — Visit to Windsor Castle — Created a G.C.B. — Invested by the 
Queen herself with the riband and star of the Order -Dinner at the 
Empire Club — Monster Conservative Convention, December 9th — 
Addresses to Sir John — Grand banquet in the Horticultural Gardens — 
Demonstrations in Montreal — The Marquis of Lansdowne as Governor- 
General — Farewell banquet at the Russell House — His remarks on the 
Fisheries Question, Commercial Union and Imperial Federation — 
Tributes from Sir John Macdonald and others— Arrival of Lord 
Stanley — The death of John Henry Pope — Services of Sir Charles 
Tupper. ... .... 348 


Dissolution of Parliament, 1891 — Address of Sir John Macdonald to the 
electors of Canada — Mr. Foster’s address to his constituents — The 
platform of the Liberal party — Divergent views of Sir Richard Cart- 
wright, Mr. Mackenzie, Mr. Mowat, Mr. Charlton, Mr. Davies and 
others — Address of Honourable Wilfrid Laurier — Conservative meeting 
at Toronto — The Farrer pamphlet — Enthusiasm at Hamilton — 
Immense gathering at London — A marvellous day’s work by Sir John 
— Great political gathering at Kingston — Address from the Primrose 
League— The Windsor demonstration — The Farrer- Wiman corres- 
pondence. ....... 383 


The Policy of Protection — Marvellous national growth and increase since 
1879 — Expansion of Foreign Trade — Exports to Great Britain and the 
United States — Interprovincial Trade— The farmer’s best market — 
Exports of agricultural products by the United States — The condition 
of Canadian and American farmers compared — Prosperity in Ontario — 
Abandoned farms in the United States — American writers on the 
wretched condition of the farming community — Thousands hungry and 
cold in Chicago — Poverty and misery in all the great centres — Mr. 

Van Horne’s business-like letters — Loyalty and disloyalty — The result 
if the elections — Sir John’s large majority in Kingston. . . 421 




Sir John's strength gives way under the great strain of the campaign— He has 
an attack of nervous and physical prostration — Which is followed by 
paralysis and hemorrhage on the brain — Sad scenes in the House of 
Commons when the nigh approach of death is announced — His hour of 
rest has come — Canada’s grief — Memorable scenes when Sir Hector 
Langevin announces his death — Mr. Laurier’s noble tribute — Lying in 
state — The funeral at Ottawa — The journey to Kingston — Lying in 
state in the City Hall — To Cataraqui cemetery — The final scene — 
Movements to erect monuments to his memory — Memorial services in 
Westminster Abbey — A memorial to be erected in St. Paul’s Cathedral 
— Lord Dufferin’s tribute — Lines by Mrs. Roth well. . . . 449 



Sir John A. Macdonald (1891), Frontispiece . 



The Fathers of Confederation, 29 

The Earl of Dufferin ( Governor- General from June 23, 1872, until 

October 18, 1878), ......... 49 

Hon. Lieut.-Col. Mackenzie Bowell, J.P., P.C. (Minister of 

Customs ), ........... 73 

Hon. J. A. Chapleau, Q.C., LL.D., P.C. (Secretary of State ), . 93 

The Hon. Sir H. L. Langevin, K.C.M.G., C.B., Q.C., P.C. 

( Minister of Public Works ), ....... 93 

The PIon. Sir A. P. Caron, K.C.M.G., Q.C., P.C. (Minister of 

Militia and Defence J, ......... 93 

The Residence of Rev. Dr. Williamson, in Kingston (Sir fohris 

Headquarters during the recent Election ), . . . . .115 

The Right Honourable The Marquis of Lorne, K.T., G.C.M.G., 

( Governor- General of Canada , November , 1878 , to October , 1883). 139 

Lord Mount-Stephen, 163 

Lady Mount-Stephen, 185 

W. C. Van Horne (President Canadian Pacific Railway ), . . .211 

Hon. Wilfrid Laurier, 233 

Hon. George E. Foster, B.A., D.C.L., P.C. ( Minister of Finance), 225 

Hon. John Costigan, J.P., P.C. (Minister of Inland Revenue ), . 255 

Hon. Charles H. Tupper, LL.B., P.C. (Minister of Marine and 

Fisheries ), ........... 255 

Lord Lansdowne, 277 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 


Hon. John G. Haggart, P.C. ( Postmaster-General ), . . . 299 

Lord Stanley of Preston, 323 

Hon. Frank Smith,. . 345 

Sir Donald A. Smith, . ....... 367 

“ Earnscliffe,” 389 

Interior of House of Commons ( shewing Sir John's desk and 

chair draped ), .......... 407 

The Funeral Leaving the Parliament Buildings, . . . 419 

Interior of St. Alban’s Church on Day of Funeral ( shewing 

Catafalque and Sir John's seat draped ), . . . . .431 

City Buildings, Kingston, on Day of Funeral, .... 447 

Sir John’s Grave, Cataraqui Cemetery, Kingston, . . . 469 



Meeting of Parliament, January 19, 1865 — References to Confederation in the 
Speech — Mr. Macdonald moves an Address to Her Majesty on the subject — 
His speech — Resolutions carried by 91 to 33 — Prorogation, March 18th — 
Deputation to England. 

ARLIAMENT met again on January 19, 1865, when 

the following references to Confederation appeared in 
the Speech from the Throne : 

“ At the close of the last session of Parliament I informed 
you that it was my intention, in conjunction with my Minis- 
ters, to prepare and submit to you a measure for the solution 
of the constitutional problem, the discussion of which has, for 
some years, agitated this Province. 

“ A careful consideration of the general position of British 
North America induced the conviction that the circumstances 
of the times afforded the opportunity, not merely for the 
settlement of a question of Provincial politics, but also for the 
simultaneous creation pf a new Nationality. 

“ Preliminary negotiations were opened by me with the 
Lieutenant-Governors of the other provinces of British North 
America, and the result was that a meeting was held at Que- 
bec, in the month of October last, composed of delegates from 
those colonies, representing all shades of political parties in 
their several communities, nominated by the Lieutenant- 
Governors of their respective provinces who assembled here, 


G.C.B., D.C.L. (Oxon.), L.L.D., Q.C., P.C. 



The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

with the sanction of the Crown, and at my invitation, to confer 
with the members of the Canadian Ministry, on the possibility 
of effecting a union of all the provinces of British North 

“ This Conference, after lengthened deliberations, arrived 
at the conclusion that a federal union of these provinces was 
feasible and desirable, and the result of its labours is a plan of 
constitution for the proposed union embodied in a series of 
resolutions, which, with other papers relating to the subject, I 
have directed to be laid before you. 

“ The general design of a union, and the particular plan by 
which it is proposed to carry that intention into effect, have 
both received the cordial approbation of the Imperial Govern- 

“ An Imperial Act of Parliament will be necessary in order 
to give effect to the contemplated union of the Colonies, and I 
have been officially informed by the Secretary of State that 
Her Majesty’s Ministers will be prepared to introduce a Bill 
for that purpose into the Imperial Parliament so soon as they 
shall have been notified that the proposal has received the 
sanction of the legislatures representing the several provinces 
affected by it. 

“ In commending to your attention this subject, the import- 
ance of which to yourselves and to your descendants it is 
impossible to exaggerate, I would claim for it your calm, 
earnest, and impartial consideration. 

“ With the public men of British North America it now 
rests to decide whether the vast tract of country which they 
inhabit shall be consolidated into a state, combining within its 
area all the elements of national greatness, providing for the 
security of its component parts, and contributing to the 
strength and stability of the Empire, or whether the several 
provinces of which it is constituted shall remain in their 
present fragmentary and isolated condition, comparatively 
powerless for mutual aid, and incapable of undertaking their 
proper share of Imperial responsibility. 

“ In the discussion of an issue of such moment I fervently 
pray that your minds may be guided to conclusions which 

Speech from the Throne. 


shall redound to the honour of our Sovereign, to the welfare 
of her subjects, and to your own reputation as patriots and 

On Monday, February 6th, Attorney-General Macdonald 
moved, “ That an humble address be presented to Her 
Majesty, praying that she may be graciously pleased to cause 
a measure to be submitted to the Imperial Parliament, for the 
purpose of uniting the colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, New 
Brunswick, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island, in one 
Government, with provisions based on certain resolutions 
which were adapted at a conference of delegates from the 
said oolonies, held at the city of Quebec, on October 10, 

He said : — “ Mr. Speaker, in fulfilment of the promise 
made by the Government to Parliament at its last session, I 
have moved this resolution. I have had the honour of being 
charged, on behalf of the Government, to submit a scheme for 
the Confederation of the British North American Provinces — 
a scheme which has been received, I am glad to say, with 
general, if not universal, approbation in Canada. The scheme 
as propounded through the press, has received almost no 
opposition. While there may be, occasionally, here and there 
expressions of dissent from some of the details, yet the scheme 
as a whole has met with almost universal approval, and the 
Government has the greatest satisfaction in presenting it to 
this House. This subject, which now absorbs the attention of 
the people of Canada and of the whole of British North 
America, is not a new one. For years it has, more or less, 
attracted the attention of every statesman and politician in 
these provinces, and has been looked upon by many far-seeing 
politicians as being eventually the means of deciding and 
settling very many of the vexed questions which have retarded 
the prosperity of the colonies as a whole, and particularly the 
prosperity of Canada. The subject was pressed upon the 
public attention by a great many writers and politicians ; but 
I believe the attention of the Legislature was first formally 
called to it by my honourable friend, the Minister of Finance. 
Some years ago, in an elaborate speech, my honourable friend, 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

while an independent member of Parliament, before being 
connected with any Government, pressed his views on the 
Legislature at great length and with his usual force. But the 
subject was not taken up by any party as a branch of their 
policy, until the formation of the Cartier-Macdonald Adminis- 
tration in 1858, when the Confederation of the Colonies was 
announced as one of the measures which they pledged them- 
selves to attempt, if possible, to bring to a satisfactory con- 
clusion. In pursuance of that promise, the letter or despatch, 
which has been so much and so freely commented upon in the 
press and in this House, was addressed by three of the mem- 
bers of that Administration to the Colonial office. 

The subject, however, though looked upon with favour by 
the country, and though there were no distinct expressions of 
opposition to it from any party, did not begin to assume its 
present proportions until last session. Then men of all 
parties and all shades of politics, became alarmed at the 
aspect of affairs. They found that such was the opposition 
between the two sections of the province, such was the danger 
of impending anarchy, in consequence of the irreconcilable 
differences of opinion, with respect to representation by popu- 
lation, between Upper and Lower Canada, that unless some 
solution of the difficulty was arrived at, we should suffer under 
a succession of weak governments — weak in numerical sup- 
port, weak in force, and weak in power of doing good/ All 
were alarmed at this state of affairs. We had election after 
election — we had Ministry after Ministry — with the same 
result. Parties were so equally balanced, that the vote of one 
member might decide the fate of the Administration and the 
course of legislation for a year or a series of years. This con- 
dition of things was calculated to arouse the earnest consider- 
ation of every lover of his country, and, I am happy to say, it 
had that effect. None were more impressed by this momen- 
tous state of affairs, and the grave apprehensions that existed 
of a state of anarchy destroying our credit, destroying our 
prosperity, destroying our progress ; than were the members 
of this present House ; and the leading statesmen on both 
sides seemed to have come to the common conclusion that 

His Confederation Speech. 

i 7 

some step must be taken to relieve the country from the dead- 
lock and impending anarchy that hung over us. 

“ With that view, my colleague, the President of the 
Council, made a motion, founded on the despatch addressed to 
the Colonial Minister — to which I have referred — and a com- 
mittee was struck, composed of gentlemen of both sides of the 
House, of all shades of political opinion, without any reference 
to whether they were supporters of the Administration of the 
day or belonged to the Opposition, for the purpose of taking 
into calm and full deliberation the evils which threatened the 
future of Canada. That motion of my honourable friend 
resulted most happily. The committee, by a wise provision — 
and in order that each member of the committee might have 
an opportunity of expressing his opinions without being in 
in any way compromised before the public, or with his party, 
in regard either to his political friends or to his political foes 
— agreed that the discussion should be freely entered upon 
without reference to the political antecedents of any of them, 
and that they should sit with closed doors, so that they might 
be able to approach the subject frankly and in a spirit of com- 
promise. The committee included most of the leading 
members of the House — I had the honour myself to be one of 
the number — and the result was that there was found an 
ardent desire — a creditable desire, I must say — displayed by 
all the members of the committee to approach the subject 
honestly, and to attempt to work out some solution which 
might relieve Canada from the evils under which she laboured. 
The report of that committee was laid before the House, and 
then came the political action of the leading men of the two 
parties in this House, which ended in the formation of the 
present Government. 

“ The principle upon which that Government was formed 
has been announced, and is known to all. It was formed 
for the very purpose of carrying out the object which has 
now received, to a certain degree, its completion, by the 
resolutions I have had the honour to place in your hands. 
As has been stated, it was not without a great deal of 
difficulty and reluctance that that Government was formed. 




The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

The gentlemen who compose this Government had for many 
years been engaged in political hostilities to such an extent 
that it affected even their social relations. But the crisis 
was great, the danger was imminent and the gentlemen who 
now form the present Administration found it to be their 
duty to lay aside all personal feelings, to sacrifice, in some 
degree, their position, and even to run the risk of having 
their motives impugned, for the sake of arriving at some 
conclusion that would be satisfactory to the country in 
general. The present resolutions were the result. And, as 
I said before, I am proud to believe that the country has 
sanctioned, as I trust that the representatives of the people 
in this House will sanction, the scheme which is now sub- 
mitted for the future Government of British North America. 

“ Everything seemed to snow that the present was the 
time, if ever, when this great union between all Her Majesty’s 
subjects, dwelling in British North America, should be carried 
out. (Hear, hear). When the Government was formed, it 
was felt that the difficulties in the way of effecting a union 
between all the British North American Colonies were great 
• — so great as almost, in the opinion of many, to make it 
hopeless. And with that view it was the policy of the 
Government, if they could not succeed in procuring a union 
between all the British North American Colonies, to attempt 
to free the country from the dead-lock in which we were 
placed in Upper and Lower Canada, in consequence of the 
difference of opinion between the two sections, by having a 
severence to a certain extent of the present Union between 
the two Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, and the 
substitution of a Federal Union between them. Most of 
us, however, I may say, all of us, were agreed — and I believe 
every thinking man will agree — as to the expediency of 
effecting a union between all the provinces, and the super- 
iority of such a design, if it were only practicable, over the 
smaller scheme of having a Federal Union between Upper 
and Lower Canada alone. 

“ By a happy concurrence of events, the time came when 

His Confederation Speech. 


that proposition could be made with a hope of success. By 
a fortunate coincidence the desire for Union existed in the 
Lower Provinces, and a feeling of the necessity of strengthen- 
ing themselves by collecting together the scattered colonies 
on the sea-board, had induced them to form a convention 
of their own for the purpose of effecting a Union of the 
Maritime Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and 
Prince Edward Island, the Legislatures of those Colonies 
having formally authorized their respective Governments to 
send a delegation to Prince Edward Island for the purpose 
of attempting to form a Union of some kind. Whether the 
Union should be federal or legislative was not then indicated, 
but a Union of some kind was sought for the purpose of 
making of themselves one people instead of three. We, 
ascertaining that they were about to take such a step, and 
knowing that if we allowed the occasion to pass, if they did, 
indeed, break up all their present political organizations 
and form a new one, it could not be expected that they 
would again readily destroy the new organization which they 
had formed, — the Union of the three Provinces on the sea- 
board — and form another with Canada. Knowing this, we 
availed ourselves of the opportunity, and asked if they would 
receive a deputation from Canada, who would go to meet 
them at Charlottetown, for the purpose of laying before them 
the advantage of a larger and more extensive Union, by 
the junction of all the Provinces in one great Government 
under cour ommon Sovereign. 

“ They at once kindly consented to receive and hear us. 
They did receive us cordially and generously, and asked us to 
lay our views before them. We did so at some length, and 
so satisfactory to them were the reasons we gave ; so clearly, 
in their opinion, did we show the advantages of the greater 
union over the lesser, that they at once set aside their own 
project and joined heart and hand with us in entering into 
the larger scheme, and trying to form, as far as they and we 
could, a great nation and a strong Government. (Cheers). 
Encouraged by this arrangement, which, however, was alto- 
gether unofficial and unauthorized, we returned to Quebec, 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

and then the Government of Canada invited the several 
Governments of the Sister Colonies to send a deputation here 
from each of them for the purpose of considering the question, 
with something like authority from their respective Govern- 
ments. The result was, that when we met here on October 
ioth, on the first day on which we assembled, after the full 
and free discussions which had taken place at Charlottetown, 
the first resolution now before this House was passed unani- 
mously, being received with acclamation, as, in the opinion of 
every one who heard it, a proposition which ought to receive, 
and would receive, the sanction of each Government and each 
people. The resolution is : ‘ That the best interests and 
present and future prosperity of British North America will 
be promoted by a Federal Union under the Crown of Great 
Britain, provided such union can be effected on principles just 
to the several provinces.’ 

“ It seemed to all the statesmen assembled — and there 
are great statesman in the Lower Provinces, men who would 
do honour to any government and to any legislature of any 
free country enjoying representative institutions — it was clear 
to them all that the best interests and present and future 
prosperity of British North America would be promoted by a 
Federal Union under the Crown of Great Britain. And it 
seems to me, as to them, and I think it will so appear to the 
people of this country, that, if we wish to be a great people, if 
we wish to form — using the expression which was sneered at 
the other evening — a great nationality, commanding the 
respect of the world, able to .hold our own against all 
opponents, and to defend those institutions we prize; if we 
wish to have one system of government, and to establish a 
commercial union, with unrestricted free trade between people 
of the five provinces, belonging, as they do, to the same 
nation, obeying the same Sovereign, owing the same allegi- 
ance, and being, for the most part, of the same blood and 
lineage; if we wish to be able to afford to each other the 
means of mutual defence and support against aggression and 
attack, this can only be obtained by a union of some kind 

His Confederation Speech. 


between the scattered and weak colonies composing the 
British North American provinces. (Cheers). 

“ The very mention of the scheme is fitted to bring with it 
its own approbation. Supposing that in the spring of the 
year 1865, half a million of people were coming from the 
United Kingdom to make Canada their home, although they 
brought only their strong arms and willing hearts, though 
they brought neither skill nor experience nor wealth, would 
we not receive them with open arms and hail their presence 
in Canada as an important addition to our strength ? But 
when, by the proposed union, we not only get nearly a million 
of people to join us — when they contribute not only their 
numbers, their physical strength, and their desire to benefit 
their position, but when we know that they consist of old- 
established communities, having a large amount of realized 
wealth — composed of people possessed of skill, education and 
experience in the ways of the new world — people who are as 
much Canadians, I may say, as we are — people who are 
imbued with the same feelings of loyalty to the Queen and 
the same desire for the continuance of the connection with the 
mother country as we are, and at the same time having a like 
feeling of ardent attachment for this, our common country, 
for which they and we would alike fight and shed our blood 
if necessary. When all this is considered, argument is 
needless to prove the advantage of such a union. (Hear, 

“There were only three modes — if I may return for a 
moment to the difficulties with which Canada was surrounded 
— only three modes that were at all suggested, by which the 
dead-lock in our affairs, the anarchy we dreaded, and the evils 
which retarded our prosperity, could be met or averted. One 
was the dissolution of the Union between Upper and Lower 
Canada, leaving them as they were before the Union of 1841, 
1 believe that that proposition, by itself, had no supporters. 
It was felt by everyone, that although it was a course that 
would do away with the sectional difficulties which existed — 
though it would remove the pressure on the part of the people 
of Upper Canada for representation based upon population — 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

and the jealousy of the people of Lower Canada lest their 
institutions should be attacked and prejudiced by that prin- 
ciple, yet it was felt by every thinking man in the province 
that it would be a retrograde step which would throw back 
the country to nearly the same position as it occupied before 
the union, that it would lower the credit enjoyed by United 
Canada, that it would be the breaking up of the connection 
which had existed for nearly a quarter of a century, and under 
which, although it had not been completely successful, and 
had not allayed altogether the local jealousies that had their 
root in circumstances which arose before the Union, our pro- 
vince, as a whole, had nevertheless prospered and increased. 
It was felt that a dissolution of the Union would have 
destroyed all the credit that we had gained by being a united 
province, and would have left us two weak and ineffective 
governments, instead of one powerful and united people. 
(Hear, hear). 

“ The next mode suggested was the granting of represent- 
ation by population. Now, we all know the manner in which 
that question was and is regarded by Lower Canada; that while 
in Upper Canada the desire and cry for it was daily augment- 
ing, the resistance to it in Lower Canada was proportionably 
increasing in strength. Still, if some such means of relieving 
us from the sectional jealousies which existed between the two 
Canadas, if some such solution of the difficulties, as Confedera- 
tion, had not been found, the representation by population must 
eventually have been carried, no matter though it might have 
been felt in Lower Canada as being a breach of the treaty of 
Union; no matter how much it might have been felt by the 
Lower Canadians that it would sacrifice their local interests, it is 
certain that in the progress of events representation by popula- 
tion would have been carried, and had it been carried — I speak 
here my own individual sentiments — I do not think it would 
have been for the interest of Upper Canada. For though Upper 
Canada would have felt that it had received what it claimed 
as a right, and had succeeded in establishing its right, yet it 
would have left the Lower Province with a sullen feeling of 
injury and injustice. The Lower Canadians would not have 

His Confederation Speech. 


worked cheerfully under such a change of system, but would 
have ceased to be what they are now — a nationality, with 
representatives in Parliament, governed by general principles, 
and dividing according to their political opinions — and would 
have been in great danger of becoming a faction, forgetful of 
national obligations, and only actuated by a desire to defend 
their own sectional interests, their own laws and their own 
institutions. (Hear, hear). 

“ The third and only means of solution for our difficulties 
was the junction of the provinces, either in a Federal or 
Legislative Union. Now, as regards the comparative advant- 
ages of a Legislative and a Federal Union, I have never 
hesitated to state my own opinions. I have again and 
again stated in the House that, if practicable, I thought a 
Legislative Union would be preferable. (Hear, hear). I have 
always contended that if we could agree to have one Govern- 
ment and one Parliament, legislating for the whole of these 
peoples, it would be the best, the cheapest, the most vigorous, 
and the strongest system of Government we could adopt. 
(Hear, hear). But, on looking at the subject in the Conference, 
and discussing the matter as we did, most unreservedly, and 
with desire to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion, we found 
that such a system was impracticable. In the first place it 
would not meet the assent of the people of Lower Canada, 
because they felt that in their peculiar position — being in a 
minority, with a different language, nationality and religion 
from the majority — in case of a junction with the other 
provinces, their institutions and their laws might be assailed, 
and their ancestral associations, on wdiich they prided them- 
selves, attacked and prejudiced, it was found that any 
proposition which involved the absorption of the individuality 
of Lower Canada — if I may use the expression — would not be 
received with favour by her people. We found, too, that 
though their people speak the same language, and enjoy the 
same system of law as the people of Upper Canada, a system 
founded on the common law of England, there was a great 
disinclination on the part of the various Maritime Provinces 
to lose their individuality, as separate political organizations, 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

as we observed in the case of Lower Canada herself. (Hear, 
hear). Therefore, we were forced to the conclusion that we 
must either abandon the idea of union altogether, or devise a 
system of union in which the separate provincial organizations 
would be in some degree preserved. So, that those who were, 
like myself, in favour of a Legislative Union, were obliged to 
modify their views and accept the project of a Federal Union 
as the only scheme practicable, even for the Maritime 
Provinces. Because, although the law of those provinces is 
founded on the common law of England, yet every one cf 
them has a large amount of law of its own — colonial law 
framed by itself, and affecting every relation of life, such as 
the laws of property, municipal and assessment laws ; laws 
relating to the liberty of the subject, and to all the great 
interests contemplated in legislation ; we found, in short, that 
the statutory law of the different provinces was so varied and 
diversified that it was almost impossible to weld them into a 
Legislative Union at once. 

“ Why, sir, if you only consider the innumerable subjects of 
Legislation peculiar to new countries, and that every one of 
those five colonies had particular laws of its own, to which its 
people had been accustomed, and are attached, you will see 
the difficulty of effecting and working a Legislative Union, 
and bringing about an assimilation of the local as well as 
general laws of the whole of the provinces. (Hear, hear). We 
in Upper Canada understand from the nature and operation of 
our peculiar municipal law, of which we know the value, the 
difficulty of framing a general system of legislation on local 
matters, which would meet the wishes and fulfil the require- 
ments of the several provinces. Even the laws considered the 
least important, respecting private rights in timber, roads, 
fencing, and innumerable other matters, small in themselves, 
but in the aggregate of great interest to the agricultural class, 
who form the great body of the people, are regarded as of 
great value by the portion of the community affected by them. 
And when we consider that everyone of the colonies has a 
body of laws of this kind, and that it will take years before 
those laws can be assimilated, it was felt that at first, at all 

His Confederation Speech. 


events, any united legislation would be almost impossible. I 
am happy to state, and, indeed, it appears on the face of the 
resolutions themselves, that as regards the Lower Provinces, a 
great desire was evinced for the final assimilation. of our laws. 
One of the resolutions provides that an attempt shall be made 
to assimilate the laws of the Maritime Provinces and those of 
Upper Canada, for the purpose of eventually establishing one 
body of statutory law, founded on the common law of Eng- 
land, the parent of the laws of all those provinces. 

“ One great objection made to a Federal Union was the 
expense of an increased number of Legislatures. I will not 
enter at any length into that subject, because my honourable 
friends, the Finance Minister and the President of the Council, 
who are infinitely more competent than myself to deal with 
matters of this kind — matters of account — will, I think, be 
able to show that the expenses under a Federal Union will 
not be greater than those under the existing system of 
separate governments and legislatures. Here, where we have 
a joint legislature for Upper and Lower Canada, which deals 
not only with subjects of a general interest common to all 
Canada, but with all matters of private right and of sectional 
interest, and with that class of measures, known as ‘ Private 
Bills,’ we find that one of the greatest sources of expense 
to the country is the cost of legislation. We find, from the 
admixture of subjects of a general, with those of a private 
character in legislation, that they mutually interfere with 
each other ; whereas, if the attention of the Legislature was 
confined to measures of one kind or the other alone, the 
session of Parliament would not be so protracted and there- 
fore not so expensive as at present. In the proposed Con- 
stitution all matters of general interest are to be dealt with 
by the General Legislature, while the Local Legislatures will 
deal with matters of local interest, which do not affect the 
Confederation as a whole, but are of the greatest importance 
to their particular sections. By such a division of labour the 
sittings of the general legislature would not be so protracted 
as even those of Canada alone. And so with the local legis- 
latures, their attention being confined to subjects pertaining 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

to their own sections, their sessions would be shorter and 
less expensive. 

“Then, when we consider the enormous saving that will 
be affected in the administration of affairs by one General 
Government — when we reflect that each of the five colonies 
have a Government of its own with a complete establishment 
of public departments and all the machinery required for 
the transaction of the business of the country — that each 
have a separate executive, judicial and military system — that 
each province has a separate Ministry, including a Minister 
of Militia, with a complete Adjutant General’s Department 
— that each have a Finance Minister with a full Customs 
and Excise staff — that each Colony has as large and com- 
plete an administrative organization, with as many executive 
officers as the General Government will have — we can well 
understand the enormous saving that will result from a Union 
of all the Colonies, from their having but one head and one 
central system. 

* We, in Canada, already know something of the advant- 
ages and disadvantages of a Federal Union. Although we 
have nominally a Legislative Union in Canada — although 
we sit in one Parliament, supposed, constitutionally, to 
represent the people, without regard to sections or localities, 
yet we know, as a matter of fact, that since the Union 
in 1841, we have had a Federal Union ; that in matters 
affecting Upper Canada solely, members from that section 
claimed and generally exercised the right of exclusive leg- 
islation, while members from Lower Canada legislated in 
matters affecting only their own section. We have had 
a Federal Union in fact, though a Legislative, a Union in 
name ; and in the hot contests of late years, if, on any 
occasion, a measure affecting any one section were inter- 
fered with by any members from the other — if, for instance, 
a measure locally affecting Upper Canada were carried 
or defeated against the wishes of its majority, by one 
from Lower Canada — my honourable friend, the President 
of the Council, and his friends, denounced with all their 
energy and ability such legislation as an infringement of the 

His Confederation Speech. 


rights of the Upper Province. (Hear, hear, and cheers). Just 
in the same way, if any Act concerning Lower Canada were 
pressed into law against the wishes of the majority of her 
representatives, by those from Upper Canada, the Lower 
Canadians would rise as one man and protest against such 
a violation of their peculiar rights. (Hear, hear). 

“ The relations between England and Scotland are very 
similar to that which obtains between the Canadas. The 
union between them, in matters of legislation, is of a federal 
character, because the Act of Union between the two coun- 
tries provides that the Scottish law cannot be altered, except 
for the manifest advantage of the people of Scotland. This 
stipulation has been held to be so obligatory on the Legisla- 
ture of Great Britain, that no measure effecting the law of 
Scotland is passed unless it receives the sanction of a majority 
of the Scottish members in Parliament. No matter how 
important it may be for the interests of the empire, as a whole, 
to alter the laws of Scotland — no matter how much it may 
interfere with the symmetry of the general law of the United 
Kingdom — that law is not altered, except with the consent of 
the Scottish people, as expressed by their representatives in 
Parliament. (Hear, hear). Thus, we have, in Great Britain, 
to a limited extent, an example of the working and effects of 
a Federal Union, as we might expect to witness them in our 
own Confederation. 

“The whole scheme of Confederation, as propounded by 
the Conference, as agreed to and sanctioned by the Canadian 
Government, and as now presented for the consideration of 
the people and the Legislature, bears upon its face the marks 
of compromise. Of necessity there must have been a great 
deal of mutual concession. When we think of the represen- 
tatives of five colonies, all supposed to have different interests, 
meeting together, charged with the duty of protecting those 
interests and of pressing the views of their own localities and 
sections, it must be admitted that had we not met in a spirit 
of conciliation, and with an anxious desire to promote this 
union ; if we had not been impressed with the idea contained 
in the words of the resolution : ‘That the best interests and 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

present and future prosperity of British North America would 
be promoted by a Federal Union under the Crown of Great 
Britain/ all our efforts might have proved to be of no avail. 
If we had not felt that, after coming to this conclusion, we 
were bound to set aside our private opinions on matters 
of detail, if we had not felt ourselves bound to look at what 
was practicable, not obstinately rejecting the opinions of 
others nor adhering to our own ; if we had not met, I say, in 
a spirit of conciliation, and with an anxious, over-ruling desire 
to form one people under one government, we never would 
have succeeded. 

H With these views, we press the question on this House, 
and the country. I say to this House, if you do not believe 
that the union of the colonies is for the advantage of the 
country, that the joining of these five peoples into one nation, 
under one sovereign, is for the benefit of all, then reject 
the scheme. Reject it i*f you do not believe it to be for 
the present advantage and future prosperity of yourselves 
and your children. But if, after a calm and full consideration 
of this scheme, it is believed., as a whole, to be for the advan- 
tage of this province — if the House and country believe this 
union to be one which will ensure for us British laws, British 
connection and British freedom — and increase and develop 
the social, political, and material prosperity of the country, 
then I implore this House and the country to lay aside all 
prejudices, and accept the scheme which we offer. I ask 
the House to meet the question in the same spirit in which the 
delegates met it. I ask each member of this House to lay 
aside his own opinions as to particular details, and to accept 
the scheme as a whole, if he thinks it beneficial as a whole. 

“ If we are not blind to our present position, we must see the 
hazardous situation in which all the great interests of Canada 
stand in respect to the United States. I am no alarmist. I 
do not believe in the prospect of immediate war. I believe 
that the common sense of the two nations will prevent a war ; 
still we cannot trust to probabilities. The Government and 
Legislature would be wanting in their duty to the people if 
they ran any risk. We know that the United States at 


His Confederation Speech. 


this moment are engaged in a war of enormous dimensions — 
that the occasion of a war with Great Britain has again and 
again arisen, and may, at any time in the future, again arise. 
We cannot foresee what may be the result ; we cannot say but 
that the two nations may drift into a war as other nations 
have done before. It would then be too late when war 
had commenced, to think of measures for strengthening 
ourselves ; or to begin negotiations for a union with the sister 
provinces. At this moment, in consequence of the ill-feeling 
which has arisen between England and the United States — a 
feeling of which Canada was not the cause — in consequence of 
the irritation which now exists, owing to the unhappy state of 
affairs on this continent, the reciprocity treaty, it seems 
probable, is about to be brought to an end — our trade is 
hampered by the passport system, and at any moment we may 
be deprived of permission to carry our goods through United 
States channels — the bonded goods system may be done away 
with, and the winter trade through the United States put an 
end to. Our merchants may be obliged to return to the 
old system of bringing in during the summer months the 
supplies for the whole year. Ourselves already threatened, 
our trade interrupted, our intercourse — political and commer- 
cial — destroyed, if we do not take warning now when we 
have the opportunity, and while one avenue is threatened to 
be closed, open another by taking advantage of the present 
arrangement and the desire of the lower provinces to draw 
closer the alliance between us, we may suffer commercial and 
political disadvantages it may take long for us to over- 

“ The Conference having come to the conclusion that a 
legislative union, pure and simple, was impracticable, our next 
attempt was to form a government upon federal principles, 
which would give to the General Government the strength of 
a legislative and administrative union, while at the same time 
it preserved that liberty of action for the different sections 
which is allowed by a federal union. And I am strong in the 
belief that we have hit upon the happy medium in those 
resolutions, and that we have formed a scheme of govern- 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

ment which unites the advantages of both, giving us the 
strength of a legislative union and the sectional freedom of a 
federal union, with protection to local interests. In doing so 
we had the advantage of the experience of the LTnited States. 
It is the fashion now to enlarge on the defects of the constitu- 
tion of the United States, but I am not one of those who look 
upon it as a failure. ( Hear, hear). I think and believe that it 
is one of the most skilful works which human intelligence ever 
created ; it is one of the most perfect organizations that ever 
governed a free people. To say that it has some defects is 
but to say that it is not the work of Omniscience, but of 
human intellects. We are happily situated in having had 
the opportunity of watching its operation, seeing its working 
from its infancy till now. It was in the main formed on the 
model of the Constitution of Great Britain adapted to the 
circumstances of a new country, and was, perhaps, the only 
practicable system that could have been adopted under the 
circumstances existing at the time of its formation. 

“We can now take advantage of the experience of the 
last seventy-eight years, during which that Constitution has 
existed, and I am strongly of the belief that we have, in a 
great measure, avoided in this system, which we propose for 
the adoption of the people of Canada, the defects which time 
and events have shown to exist in the American Constitution. 
In the first place, by a resolution which meets with the 
universal approval of the people of this country, we have 
provided that for all time to come, so far as we can legislate 
for the future, we shall have as the head of the executive 
power, the Sovereign of Great Britain. (Hear, hear). No one 
can look into futurity and say what will be the destiny of this 
country. Changes come over nations and peoples in the 
course of ages. But, so far as we can legislate, we provide 
that, for all time to come, the Sovereign of Great Britain shall 
be the Sovereign of British North America. By adhering to 
the monarchial principle, we avoid one defect inherent in the 
constitution of the United States. By the election of the 
president by a majority and for a short period, he never is the 
sovereign and chief of the nation. He is never looked up to 

His Confederation Speech. 


by the whole people as the head and front of the nation. 
He is at best but the successful leader of a party. This defect 
is all the greater on account of the practice of re-election. 
During his first term of office he is employed in taking steps 
to secure his own re-election and for his party a continuance 
of power. We avoid this by adhering to the monarchial 
principle — the Sovereign whom you respect and love. I 
believe that it is of the utmost importance to have that prin- 
ciple recognized, so that we shall have a sovereign who is 
placed above the region of party — to whom all parties look 
up — who is not elevated by the action of one party nor 
depressed by the action of another, who is the common head 
and sovereign of all. (Hear, hear and cheers). 

“ In the Constitution we propose to continue the system 
of responsible government which has existed in this province 
since 1841, and which has long obtained in the mother 
country. This is a feature of our Constitution as we have it 
now, and as we shall have it in the Federation, in which, I 
think, we avoid one of the great defects in the constitution of 
the United States. There, the president, during his term of 
office, is in a great measure a despot, a one man power, with 
the command of the naval and military forces, with an immense 
amount of patronage as head of the Executive, and with the 
veto power as a branch of the Legislature, perfectly uncon- 
trolled by responsible advisers, his Cabinet being departmental 
officers merely, with whom he is not obliged by the constitu- 
tion to consult unless he chooses to do so. With us, the 
Sovereign, or in this country the representative of the Sove- 
reign, can act only on the advice of his Ministers, those 
Ministers being responsible to the people through Parliament. 

“ Prior to the formation of the American Union, as we all 
know, the different states which entered into it were separate 
colonies. They had no connection with each other further 
than that of having a common sovereign, just as with us at 
present. Their constitutions and their laws were different. 
They might and did legislate against each other, and when 
they revolted against the mother country they acted as 
separate sovereignties, and carried on the war by a kind of 




The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

treaty of alliance against the common enemy. Ever since the 
union was formed the difficulty of what is called ‘ State 
Rights’ has existed, and this had much to do in bringing on 
the present unhappy war in the United States. They com- 
menced, in fact, at the wrong end. They declared by their 
constitution that each state was a sovereignty in itself, and 
that all the powers incident to a sovereignty belonged to 
each state, except those powers which, by the Constitution, 
were conferred upon the General Government and Congress. 
Here we have adopted a different system. We have strength- 
ened the General Government. We have given the General 
Legislature all the great subjects of legislation. We have 
conferred on them, not only specifically and in detail, all the 
powers which are incident to sovereignty, but we have 
expressly declared that all subjects of general interest, not 
distinctly and exclusively conferred upon the Local Govern- 
ments and Local Legislatures, shall be conferred upon the 
General Government and Legislature. We have thus avoided 
that great source of weakness which has been the cause of the 
disruption of the United States. We have avoided all conflict 
of jurisdiction and authority, and if this constitution is carried 
out, as it will be in full detail in the Imperial Act to be passed 
if the colonies adopt the scheme, we will have, in fact, as I 
said before, all the advantages of a Legislative union under 
one Administration, with, at the same time, the guarantees for 
local institutions and for local laws, which are insisted upon 
by so many in the provinces now, I hope, to be united. 

“ The desire to remain connected with Great Britain, and 
to retain our allegiance to Her Majesty, was unanimous. Not 
a single suggestion was made that it could, by any possibility, 
be for the interests of the colonies, or of any section or portion 
of them, that there should be a severence of our connection. 
Although we knew it to be possible that Canada, from her 
position, might be exposed to all the horrors of war, by 
reasons of causes of hostility arising between Great Britain 
aud the United States— causes over which we had no control, 
and which we had no hand in bringing about — yet there was 
a unanimous feeling of willingness to run all the hazards of 

His Confederation Speech. 


war, if war must come, rather than lose the connection between 
the mother country and these colonies. (Cheers). 

“We provide that ‘ the executive authority shall be 
administered by the Sovereign personally, or by the repre- 
sentative of the Sovereign duly authorized.’ It is too much 
to expect that the Queen should vouchsafe us her personal 
governance or presence, except to pay us, as the heir-apparent 
of the Throne, our future Sovereign, has already paid us, the 
graceful compliment of a visit. The executive authority 
must, therefore, be administered by Her Majesty’s representa- 
tive. We place no restriction on Her Majesty’s prerogative in 
the selection of her representative. As it is now, so it will be 
if this Constitution is adopted. The Sovereign has unrestricted 
freedom of choice. Whether in making her selection she may 
send us one of her own family, a Royal Prince, as a Viceroy 
to rule over us, or one of the great statesmen of England to 
represent her, we know not. We leave that to Her Majesty 
in all confidence. But we may be permitted to hope that, 
when the union takes place, and we become the great country 
which British North America is certain to be, it will be an 
object worthy the ambition of the statesmen of England to be 
charged with presiding over our destinies. (Hear, hear). 

“ Let me now invite the attention of the House to the 
provisions in the Constitution respecting the legislative power. 
The sixth resolution says, * there shall be a General Legis- 
lature or Parliament for the Federated Provinces, composed 
of a Legislative Council and a House of Commons.’ The 
Legislature of British North America will be composed of 
Kings, Lords, and Commons. The Legislative Council will 
stand in the same relation to the Lower House, as the House 
of Lords to the House of Commons in England, having the 
same power of initiating all matters of legislation, except 
the granting of money. As regards the Lower House, it 
may not appear to matter much, whether it is called the 
House of Commons or House of Assembly. It will bear 
whatever name the Parliament of England may choose to 
give it, but 1 The House of Commons ’ is the name we should 
prefer, as showing that it represents the Commons of Canada, 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

in the same way that the English House of Commons 
represents the Commons of England, with the same privileges, 
the same parliamentary usage, and the same parliamentary 
authority. In settling the constitution of the Lower House, 
that which peculiarly represents the people, it was agreed 
that the principle of representation based on population 
should be adopted, and the mode of applying that principle 
is fully developed in these resolutions. When I speak of 
representation by population, the House will, of course, under- 
stand that universal suffrage is not in any way sanctioned, 
or admitted by these resolutions, as the basis on which the 
constitution of the popular branch should rest. 

“ In order to protect local interests, and to prevent sec- 
tional jealousies, it was found requisite that the three great 
divisions into which British North America is separated, 
should be represented in the Upper House on the principle 
of equality. There are three great sections, having different 
interests, in this proposed Confederation. We have Western 
Canada, an agricultural country far away from the sea, and 
having the largest population, who have agricultural interests 
principally to guard. We have Lower Canada, with other 
and separate interests, and especially with institutions and 
laws which she jealously guards against absorption by any 
larger, more numerous, or stronger power. And we have 
the Maritime Provinces, having also different sectional inter- 
ests of their own, having, from their position, classes and 
interests which we do not know in Western Canada. Accord- 
ingly, in the Upper House — the controlling and regulating, 
but not the initiating, branch (for we know that here, as in 
England, to the Lower House will practically belong the 
initiation of matters of great public interest), in the House 
which has the sober second thought in legislation — it is pro- 
vided that each of those great sections shall be represented 
equally by twenty-four members. An hereditary Upper 
House is impracticable in this young country. 

“ Here we have none of the elements for the formation 
of a landlord aristocracy — no men of large territorial positions 
— no class separated from the mass of the people. An 

His Confederation Speech. 


hereditary body is altogether unsuited to our state of society 
and would soon dwindle into nothing. The only mode of 
adapting the English system to the Upper House, is by 
conferring the power of appointment on the Crown (as the 
English peers are appointed), but that the appointments 
should be for life. The arguments for an elective council 
are numerous and strong ; and I ought to say so, as one 
of the Administration, responsible for introducing the elective 
principle into Canada. (Hear, hear). I hold that this prin- 
ciple had not been a failure in Canada ; but there were causes 
— which we did not take into consideration at the time — why, 
it did not so fully succeed in Canada as we had expected. 
At first, I admit, men of the first standing did come forward, 
but we have seen that in every succeeding election in both 
Canadas there has been an increasing disinclination, on the 
part of men of standing and political experience and weight 
in the country, to become candidates ; while, on the other 
hand, all the young men, the active politicians, those who 
have resolved to embrace the life of a statesman, have sought 
entrance to the House of Assembly. 

“ The nominative system in this country was to a great 
extent successful before the introduction of responsible gov- 
ernment. Then the Canadas were to a great extent Crown 
colonies, and the upper branch of the legislature consisted of 
gentlemen chosen from among the chief judicial and ecclesias- 
tical dignitaries, the heads of departments, and other men of 
the first position in the country. Those bodies commanded 
great respect from the character, standing and weight of the 
individuals composing them, but they had little sympathy 
with the people or their representatives, and collisions with 
the Lower House frequently occurred, especially in Lower 
Canada. When responsible government was introduced it 
became necessary for the Governor of the day to have a body 
of advisers who had the confidence of the House of Assembly 
which could make or unmake Ministers as it chose. The 
Lower House, in effect, pointed out who should be nominated 
to the Upper House; for the Ministry, being dependent alto- 
gether on the lower branch of the legislature for support, 

38 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

selected members for the Upper House from among their 
political friends at the dictation of the House of Assembly. 
The Council was becoming less and less a substantial check 
on the legislation of the Assembly, but under the system now 
proposed, such will not be the case. No Ministry can in 
future do what they have done in Canada before. They 
cannot, with the view of carrying any measure, or of strength- 
ening the party, attempt to over-rule the independent opinion 
of the Upper House by filling it with a number of its 
partizans and political supporters. The provision in the 
Constitution, that the Legislative Council shall consist of a 
limited number of members, that each of the great sections 
shall appoint twenty-four members and no more, will prevent 
the Upper House from being swamped from time to time by 
the Ministry of the day for the purpose of carrying out their 
own schemes or pleasing their partizans. The fact of the 
Government being prevented from exceeding a limited num- 
ber will preserve the independence of the Upper House, and 
make it, in reality, a separate and distinct chamber, having a 
legitimate and controlling influence in the legislation of the 

“ The objection has been taken, that, in consequence of the 
Crown being deprived of the right of unlimited appointment, 
there is a chance of a dead-lock arising between the two 
branches of the Legislature, a chance that the Upper House, 
being altogether independent of the Sovereign, of the Lower 
House, and of the advisers of the Crown, may act indepen- 
dently, and so independently as to produce a dead-lock. I do 
not anticipate any such result. In the first place we know 
that in England it does not arise. There would be no use of 
an Upper House if it did not exercise, when it thought 
proper, the right of opposing or amending or postponing 
the legislation of the Lower House. It would be of no value 
whatever were it a mere chamber for registering the decrees 
of the Lower House. It must be an independent House, 
having a free action of its own, for it is only valuable as being 
a regulating body, calmly considering the legislation initiated 
by the popular branch, and preventing any hasty or ill-con- 

His Confereration Speech. 


sidered legislation which may come from that body, bat it will 
never set itself in opposition against the deliberate and 
understood wishes of the people. Even the House of Lords, 
which as an hereditary body is far more independent than one 
appointed for life can be ; whenever it ascertains what is the 
calm, deliberate will of the people of England, yields, and 
never in modern times has there been, in fact or act, any 
attempt to over-rule the decisions of that House by the 
appointment of new peers, excepting, perhaps, once in the 
reign of Queen Anne. 

“In this country, we must remember, that the gentlemen 
who will be selected for the Legislative Council, stand on a 
very different footing from the peers of England. They have 
not, like them, any ancestral associations or position derived 
from history. They have not that direct influence on the 
people themselves, or on the popular branch of the legislature, 
which the peers of England exercise, from their great wealth, 
their vast territorial possessions, their numerous tenantry, and 
that prestige with which the exalted position of their class for 
centuries has invested them. (Hear, hear). The members of 
our Upper House will be, like those of the Lower, men of the 
people, and from the people. The man put into the Upper 
House is as much a man of the people the day after, as the 
day before his elevation. Springing from the people, and one 
of them, he takes his seat in the Council with all the sym- 
pathies and feelings of a man of the people, and when he 
returns home at the end of the session, he mingles with them 
on equal terms, and is influenced by the same feelings and 
associations and events, as those which affect the mass around 
him. And is it then to be supposed that the members of the 
upper branch of the Legislature will set themselves deliberate- 
ly at work to oppose what they know to be the settled 
opinions and wishes of the people of the country ? They will 
not do it. There is no fear of a dead-lock between the two 
Houses. There is an infinitely greater chance of a dead-lock 
between the two branches of the Legislature, should the 
elective principle be adopted, than with a nominated Chamber 
chosen by the Crown, and having no mission from the people. 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

The members of the Upper Chamber would then come 
from the people as well as those of the Lower House, and 
should any difference ever arise between both branches, the 
former could say to the members of the popular branch : ‘We 
as much represent the feelings of the people as you do, 
and even more so ; we are not elected from small localities 
and for a short period ; you as a body were elected at a par- 
ticular time, when the public mind was running in a particular 
channel ; you were returned to Parliament, not so much repre- 
senting the general views of the country on general questions, 
as upon the particular subjects which happened to engage the 
minds of the people when they went to the polls. We have as 
much right, or a better right, than you to be considered as 
representing the deliberate will of the people on general ques- 
tions, and therefore we will not give way.’ (Hear, hear). 
There is, I repeat, a greater danger of an irreconcilable differ- 
ence of opinion between the two branches of the Legislature, 
if the Upper be elective, than if it holds its commission from 
the Crown. 

“ Besides, it must be remembered that an Upper House, 
the members of which are to be appointed for life, would not 
have the same quality of permanence as the House of Lords ; 
our members would die ; strangers would succeed them, 
whereas son succeeded father in the House of Lords. Thus 
the changes in the membership and state of opinion in 
our Upper House would always be more rapid than in 
the House of Lords. To show how speedily changes have 
occurred in the Upper House, as regards life members, I will 
call the attention of the House to the following facts : — At 
the call of the House in February, 1856, forty-two life 
members responded ; two years afterwards, in 1858, only 
thirty-five answered to their names ; in 1862 there were 
only twenty-five life members left, and in 1864, but twenty- 
one. (Hear, hear). This shows how speedily changes take 
place in the life membership. But, remarkable as this 
change has been, it is not so great as that in regard to 
the elected members. Though the elective principle only 
came into force in 1856, and although only twelve men were 

His Confederation Speech. 


elected that year and twelve more every two years since, twen- 
ty-four changes have already taken place by the decease 
of members, by the acceptance of office, and by resignation. 
So it is quite clear that, should there be on any question 
a difference of opinion between the Upper and Lower Houses, 
the Government of the day being obliged to have the confi- 
dence of the majority in the popular branch, would, for 
the purpose of bringing the former into accord and sympathy 
with the latter, fill up any vacancies that might occur with 
men of the same political feelings and sympathies with the 
Government, and consequently with those of the majority in 
the popular branch ; and all the appointments of the Admin- 
istration would be made with the object of maintaining 
the sympathy and harmony between the two Houses. (Hear, 

“ There is this additional advantage to be expected from 
the limitation. To the Upper House is to be confided the 
protection of sectional interests ; therefore is it that the three 
great divisions are there equally represented, for the purpose 
of defending such interests against the combinations of 
majorities in the Assembly. It will, therefore, become the 
interest of each section to be represented by its very best men, 
and the members of the Administration who belong to each 
section will see that such men are chosen, in case of a 
vacancy in their section. 

“ In the formation of the House of Commons, the principle 
of representation by population has been provided for in a 
manner equally ingenious and simple. The introduction of 
this principle presented at first the apparent difficulty of a 
constantly increasing body, until, with the increasing popula- 
tion, it would become inconveniently and expensively large. 
But by adopting the representation of Lower Canada as a 
fixed standard — as the pivot on which the whole would turn — 
that province being the best suited for the purpose, on account 
of the comparatively permanent character of its population, 
and from its having neither the largest nor least number of 
inhabitants, we have been enabled to overcome the difficulty I 
have mentioned. We have introduced the system of repre- 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

sentation by population without the danger of an inconvenient 
increase in the number of representatives on the recurrence of 
each decennial period. The whole thing is worked by a simple 
rule of three. For instance, we have in Upper Canada 
i, 400, coo of a population ; in Lower Canada 1,100,000. Now, 
the proposition is simply this, if Lower Canada, with its 
population of 1,100,000, has a right to sixty-five members, how 
many members should Upper Canada have, with its larger 
population of 1,400,000 ? The same rule applies to the other 
provinces, the proportion is always observed, and the principle 
of representation by population carried out, while, at the same 
time, there will not be decennially an inconvenient increase in 
the members of the Lower House. At the same time there is 
a constitutional provision that hereafter, if deemed advisable, 
the total number of representatives may be increased from 
194, the number fixed in the first instance. In that case, if an 
increase is made, Lower Canada is still to remain the pivot on 
which the whole calculation will turn. If Lower Canada, 
instead of sixty-five, shall have seventy members, then the 
calculation will be, if Lower Canada has seventy members, 
with such a population, how many shall Upper Canada have 
with a larger population ? 

“ I was in favour of a larger House than 194, 
but was overruled. I was, perhaps, singular in the 
opinion, but I thought it would be well to commence witli 
a larger representation in the lower branch. The arguments 
against this were, that, in the first place, it would cause 
additional expense ; in the next place, that in a new country 
like this, we could not get a sufficient number of qualified men 
to be representatives. My reply was that the number is 
rapidly increasing as we increase in education and wealth : 
that a larger field would be open to political ambition by 
having a larger body of representatives ; that by having 
numerous and smaller constituencies, more people would be 
interested in the working of the union, and that there would be 
a wider field for selection for leaders of governments and the 
leaders of parties. These are my individual sentiments, which, 
perhaps, I have no right to express here, but I was overruled, 

His Confederation Speech. 


and wefixed on the number of 194, which no one will say is 
large or extensive, when it is considered that our present 
number in Canada alone is 130. The difference between 130 
and 194 is not great, considering the large increase that will be 
made to our population when Confederation is carried into 

“ While the principle of representation by population is 
adopted with respect to the popular branch of the Legislature, 
not a single member of the conference, as I stated before, not 
a single one of the representatives of the Government or of 
the Opposition, or any one of the Lower Provinces, was in 
favour of universal suffrage. Every one felt that in this 
respect the principle of the British Constitution should be 
carried out, and that classes and property should be repre- 
sented as well as numbers. Insuperable difficulties would 
have presented themselves if we had attempted to settle now 
the qualification for the elective franchise. We have different 
laws in each of the colonies, fixing the qualification of electors 
for their own local legislatures ; and we therefore adopted a 
similar clause to that which is contained in the Canada Union 
Act of 1841, viz., that all the laws which affected the qualifica- 
tion of members and of voters, which effected the appoint- 
ment and conduct of returning officers, and the proceedings at 
elections, as well as the trial of controverted elections in the 
separate provinces, should obtain in the first election to the 
Confederate Parliament, so that every man who has now a 
vote in his own province should continue to have a vote in 
choosing a representative to the first Federal Parliament. 
And it was left to the Parliament of the Confederation, as one 
of their first duties, to consider and to settle by an act of their 
own the qualification for the elective franchise, which would 
apply to the whole Confederation. 

“In considering the question of the duration of Parlia- 
ment, we came to the conclusion to recommend a period 
of five years. I was in favour of a longer period. I thought 
that the duration of the Local Legislatures should not be 
shortened so as to be less than four years, as at present, and 
that the General Parliament should have as long a duration 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

as that of the United Kingdom. I was willing to have gone 
to the extent of seven years ; but a term of five years was 
preferred, and we had the example of New Zealand carefully 
considered, not only locally, but by the Imperial Parliament, 
and which gave the Provinces of those Islands a General 
Parliament with a duration of five years. But it was a 
matter of little importance whether five years or seven years 
was the term, the power of dissolution by the Crown having 
been reserved. I find, on looking at the duration of Parlia- 
ments since the accession of George III. to the Throne, 
that excluding the present Parliament, there have been seven- 
teen Parliaments, the average period of whose existence has 
been about three years and a half. That average is less 
than the average duration of the Parliaments in Canada since 
the Union, so that it was not a matter of much importance 
whether we fixed upon five or seven years as the period of 
duration of our General Parliament. In short, this Parlia- 
ment shall settle what shall be the different constituencies 
electing members to the first Federal Parliament. And so 
the other provinces, the Legislatures of which will fix the 
limits of their several constituencies in the session in which 
they adopt the new constitution. Afterwards the Local Legis® 
latures may alter their own electoral limits as they please, 
for their own local, elections. But it would evidently be 
improper to leave to the Local Legislatures the power to 
alter the constituencies sending members to the General 
Legislature after the General Legislature shall have been 
called into existence. Were this the case, a member of the 
General Legislature might at any time find himself ousted 
from his seat by an alteration of his constituency by the 
Local Legislature in his section. 

“ I shall not detain the House by entering into a con- 
sideration at any length of the different powers conferred 
upon the General Parliament as contradistinguished from 
those reserved to the Local Legislatures ; but any honourable 
member, on examining the list of different subjects which 
are to be assigned to the General and Local Legislatures 
respectively, will see that all the great questions which affect 

His Confederation Speech. 


the general interests of the Confederacy as a whole, are 
confided to the Federal Parliament, while the local interests 
and local laws of each section are preserved intact, and 
intrusted to the care of the local bodies. As a matter of 
course, the General Parliament must have the power of deal- 
ing with the public debt and property of the Confederation. 
Of course, too, it must have the regulation of trade and 
commerce, of customs and excise. The Federal Parliament 
must have the sovereign power of raising money from such 
sources and by such means as the representatives of the 
people will allow. 

“It will be seen that the Local legislatures have the 
control of all local works ; and it is a matter of great import- 
ance, and one of the chief advantages of the Federal Union 
and of Local Legislatures, that each province will have the 
power and means of developing its own resources and aiding 
its own progress, after its own fashion and in its own way. 
Therefore, all the local improvements, all local enterprises 
or undertakings of any kind, have been left to the care and 
management of the Local Legislatures of each province. 

“ It is provided that all ‘ lines of steam or other ships, 
railways, canals and other works, connecting any two or 
more of the Provinces together, or extending beyond the 
limits of any province/ shall belong to the General Govern- 
ment and be under the control of the General Legislature. 
In like manner, ‘ lines of steamships between the Federated 
Provinces and other countries, telegraph communication and 
the incorporation of telegraph companies, and all such works 
as shall, although lying within any province, be specially 
declared by the Acts authorizing them, to be for the general 
advantage/ shall belong to the General Government. For 
instance, the Welland Canal, though lying wholly within one 
section, and the St. Lawrence Canals in two only, may be 
properly considered national works, and for the general 
benefit of the whole Federation. Again, the census, the 
ascertaining of our numbers and the extent of our resources, 
must, as a matter of general interest, belong to the General 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

Government. So also with the defences of the country. One 
of the great advantages of Confederation is, that we shall 
have a united, a concerted, and uniform system of defence. 
(Hear). We are at this moment with a different militia 
system in each Colony — in some of the Colonies with an 
utter want of any system of defence. We have a number 
of separate staff establishments, without any arrangement 
between the colonies as to the means, either of defence or 
offence. But, under the Union, we will have one system 
of defence and one system of militia organization. In the 
event of the Lower Provinces being threatened, we can send 
the large militia forces of Upper Canada to their rescue. 
Should we have to fight on our lakes against a foreign foe, 
we will have the hardy seamen of the Lower Provinces 
coming to our assistance and manning our vessels. (Hear, 
hear). We will have one system of defence and be one 
people, acting together alike, in times of peace and in war. 

“The criminal law, too, — the determination of what is 
a crime and what is not, and how crime shall be punished 
— is left to the General Government. This is a matter almost 
of necessity. It is of great importance that we should have 
the same criminal law throughout the Provinces — that what 
is a crime in one part of British America, should be a crime 
in every part — that there should be the same protection of life 
and property in one as in another. It is one of the defects 
in the United States system, that each separate state has 
or may have a criminal code of its own — that what may 
be a capital offence in one state, may be a venial offence, 
punishable slightly, in another. But, under our Constitution, 
we shall have one body of criminal law based on the criminal 
law of England, and operating equally throughout British 
America, so that a British American, belonging to what 
province he may, or going to any other part of the Confedera- 
tion, knows what his rights are in that respect, and what 
his punishment will be if an offender against the criminal 
laws of the land. I think this is one of the most marked 
instances in which we take advantage of the experience 

His Confederation Speech. 


derived from our observations of the defects in the Constitu- 
tion of the neighbouring Republic. (Hear, hear). 

“ The thirty-third provision is of very great importance to 
the future well-being of these colonies. It commits to the 
General Parliament the ‘ rendering uniform all or any of the 
laws relative to property and civil rights in Upper Canada, 
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Prince 
Edward Island, and rendering uniform the procedure of aU 
or any of the courts of these provinces/ The great principles 
which govern the laws of all the provinces, with the single 
exception of Lower Canada, are the same, although there may 
be a divergence in details, and it is gratifying to find, on the 
part of the Lower Provinces, a general desire to join together 
with Upper Canada in this matter, and to procure, as soon as 
possible, an assimilation of the statutory laws and the proce- 
dure in the courts, of all these provinces. At present there is 
a good deal of diversity. In one of the colonies, for instance, 
they have no municipal system at all. In another, the muni- 
cipal system is merely permissive, and has not been adopted 
to any extent. Although, therefore, a legislative union was 
found to be almost impracticable, it was understood, so far as 
we could influence the future, that the first act of the Confed- 
eration Government should be to procure an assimilation of a 
statutory law of all those provinces, which has, as its root and 
foundation, the common law of England. But to prevent 
local interests from being over-ridden, the same section makes 
provision, that, while power is given to the General Legislature 
to deal with this subject, no change in this respect should 
have the force and authority of law in any province until 
sanctioned by the Legislature of that province. (Hear, hear). 

“ The General Legislature is to have power to establish a 
General Court of Appeal for the federated provinces. Although 
the Canadian Legislature has always had the power to estab- 
lish a Court of Appeal, to which appeals may be made from 
the Courts of Upper and Lower Canada, we have never 
availed ourselves of the power. Upper Canada has its own 
Court of Appeal, so has Lower Canada. And this system 
will continue until a General Court of Appeal shall be estab- 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

lished by the General Legislature The Constitution does 
not provide that such a court shall be established. There are 
many arguments for and against the establishment of such a 
court. But it was thought wise and expedient to put into the 
Constitution a power to the General Legislature, that, if after 
full consideration they think it advisable to establish a General 
Court of Appeal from all the Superior Courts of all the 
provinces, they may do so. (Hear, hear). 

“ I shall not go over the other powers that are conferred 
on the General Parliament. Most of them refer to matters of 
financial and commercial interest, and I leave those subjects 
in other and better hands. Besides all the powers that are 
specially given in the thirty -seventh and last item of this 
portion of the Constitution, confers on the General Legis- 
lature the general mass of sovereign legislation, the power to 
legislate on ‘ all matters of a general character, not specially 
and exclusively reserved for the Local Governments and Legis- 
latures/ This it precisely the provision which is wanting in 
the Constitution of the United States. It is here that we find 
the weakness of the American system — the point where the 
American Constitution breaks down. (Hear, hear). It is in 
itself a wise and necessary provision. We thereby strengthen 
the central Parliament and make the Confederation one 
people and one government, instead of five peoples and five 
governments, with merely a point of authority connecting us 
to a limited and insufficient extent. 

“ With respect to the Local Governments, it is provided that 
each shall be governed by a chief executive officer, who shall 
be nominated by the General Government. As this is to be 
one united province, with the Local Governments and Legisla- 
tures subordinate to the General Government and Legislature, 
it is obvious that the chief executive officer in each of the 
provinces must be subordinate as well. The General Govern- 
ment assumes towards the Local Governments precisely the 
same position as the Imperial Government holds with respect 
to each of the colonies now, so that as the Lieutenant- 
Governor of each of the different provinces is now appointed 
directly by the Queen, and is directly responsible and reports 

THE EARL OF DUFFERIN, K.P., K.C.B., G.C.M.G. {Lord Dufferin). 
{Governor-General from June 25, 1872, until October 18, 1878). 

His Confederation Speech. 


directly to her, so will the Executives of the Local Govern- 
ments hereafter be subordinate to the representative of the 
Queen and be responsible and report to him. 

“ There are numerous subjects which belong, of right, both 
to the Local and the General Parliaments. In all these cases 
it is provided, in order to prevent a conflict of authority, that 
where there is concurrent jurisdiction in the General and 
Local Parliaments, the same rule should apply as now applies 
in cases where there is concurrent jurisdiction in the Imperial 
and in the Provincial Parliaments, and that when the legisla- 
tion of the one is adverse to or contradictory of the legislation 
of the other, in all such cases the action of the General 
Parliament must overrule, ex-necessitate , the action of the 
Local Legislature. (Hear, hear). 

“We have introduced also all those provisions which are 
necessary in order to the full working out of the British 
Constitution in these provinces. We provide that there shall 
be no money votes, unless those votes are introduced in the 
popular branch of the Legislature on the authority of the 
responsible advisers of the Crown — those with whom the 
responsibility rests of equalizing revenue and expenditure — 
that there can be no expenditure or authorization of expendi- 
ture by Address or in any other way unless initiated by the 
Crown on the advice of its responsible advisers. (Hear, hear). 

“ The last resolution of any importance is one which, 
although not affecting the substance of the Constitution, is of 
interest to us all. Is it that ‘ Her Majesty the Queen be 
solicited to determine the rank and name of the federated 
provinces ?’ I do not know whether there will be any expres- 
sion of opinion in this House on this subject, whether we are 
to be a vice-royalty, or whether we are still to retain our 
name and rank as a province. But I have no doubt Her 
Majesty will give the matter her gracious consideration, that 
she will give us a name satisfactory to us all, and that the rank 
she will confer upon us will be a rank worthy of our position, 
of our resources, and of our future. (Cheers). 

“ One argument, but not a strong one, has been used 
against this Confederation, that it is an advance towards 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

independence. Some are apprehensive that the very fact of our 
forming this Union will hasten the time when we shall be 
severed from the mother country. I have no apprehension of 
that kind. I believe it will have the contrary effect. I believe 
that as we grow stronger, that, as it is felt in England we 
have become a people, able from our union, our strength, our 
population, and the development of our resources, to take our 
position among the nations of the world, she will be less 
willing to part with us than she would be now, when we are 
broken up into a number of insignificant colonies, subject to 
attack piece-meal without any concerted action or common 
organization of defence. I am strongly of opinion that year 
by year, as we grow in population and in strength, England 
will more see the advantages of maintaining the alliance 
between British North America and herself. Does anyone 
imagine that, when our population instead of three and a half, 
will be seven millions, as it will be ere many years pass, we 
would be one whit more willing than now to sever the connec- 
tion with England? Would not those seven millions be just 
as anxious to maintain their allegiance to the Queen and their 
connection with the mother country as we are now ? Will 
the addition to our numbers of the people of the Lower 
Provinces, in any way lessen our desire to continue our 
connection with the mother country ? I believe the people of 
Canada east and west, to be truly loyal. But, if they can by 
possibility be exceeded in loyalty, it is by the inhabitants of 
the Maritime Provinces. Loyalty with them is an over-ruling 
passion. (Hear, hear). In all parts of the Lower Provinces 
there is a rivalry between the opposing political parties as to 
which shall most strongly express and most effectively carry 
out the principle of loyalty to Her Majesty and to the British 
Crown. (Hear, hear). 

“ When this union takes place, we will be at the outset no 
inconsiderable people. And with a rapidly increasing popula- 
tion — for I am satisfied that under this union our population 
will increase in a still greater ratio than ever before — with 
increased credit — with a higher position in the eyes of Europe 
— with the increased security we can offer to immigrants, who 

His Confederation Speech. 


would naturally prefer to seek a new home in what is known 
to them as a great country, than in any one little colony 
or another — with all this I am satisfied that, great as has been 
our increase in the last twenty-five years since the union 
between Upper and Lower Canada, our future progress, during 
the next quarter of a century, will be vastly greater. (Cheers). 
And when, by means of this rapid increase, we become a 
nation of eight or nine millions of inhabitants, our alliance will 
be worthy of being sought by the great nations of the earth. 
(Hear, hear). I am proud to believe that our desire for 
a permanent alliance will be reciprocated in England. I 
know that there is a party in England — but it is inconsider- 
able in numbers, though strong in intellect and power — which 
speaks of the desirability of getting rid of the colonies, but I 
believe such is not the feeling of the statesmen and the people 
of England. I believe it will never be the deliberately 
expressed determination of the Government of Great Britain. 
(Hear, hear). 

“ The colonies are now in a transition state. Gradually a 
different colonial system is being developed — and it will 
become, year by year, less a case of dependence on our part, 
and of over-ruling protection on the part of the mother coun- 
try, and more a case of a healthy and cordial alliance. Instead 
of looking upon us merely as a dependent colony, England 
will have in us a friendly nation — a subordinate, but still a 
powerful people — to stand by her in North America in peace 
or in war. (Cheers). The people of Australia will be such 
another subordinate nation. And England will have this 
advantage, if her colonies progress under the new colonial 
system, as I believe they will, that, though at war with all the 
rest of the world, she will be able to look to the subordinate 
nations in alliance with her, and owing allegiance to the 
same Sovereign, who will assist in enabling her again to meet 
the whole world in arms, as she has done before. (Cheers). 
And if, in the great Napoleonic war, with every port in Europe 
closed against her commerce, she was yet able to hold her 
own, how much more will that be the case when she has 
a colonial empire rapidly increasing in power, in wealth, in 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

influence, and in position. (Hear, hear). It is true that we 
stand in danger, as we have stood in danger again and again 
in Canada, of being plunged into war, and suffering all its 
dreadful consequences, as the result of causes over which we 
have no control, by reason of their connection. This, however, 
did not intimidate us. At the very mention of the prospect of 
a war some time ago, how were the feelings of the people 
aroused from one extremity of British America to the other, 
and preparations were made for meeting its worst conse- 
quences. Although the people of this country are fully aware 
of the horrors of war — should a war arise, unfortunately, 
between the United States and England, and we all pray it 
never may — they are still ready to encounter all perils of that 
kind, for the sake of the connection with England. There 
is not one adverse voice, not one adverse opinion on that 

“ We all feel the advantages we derive from our connection 
with England. So long as that alliance is maintained, we 
enjoy, under her protection, the privileges of constitutional 
liberty according to the British system. We will enjoy here 
that which is the great test of constitutional freedom — we will 
have the rights of the minority respected. (Hear, hear). In 
all countries the rights of the majority take care of themselves, 
but it is only in countries like England, enjoying constitu- 
tional liberty, and safe from the tyranny of a single despot or 
of an unbridled democracy, that the rights of minorities are 
regarded. So long, too, as we form a portion of the British 
Empire we shall have the example of her free institutions, of 
the high standard of the character of her statesmen and public 
men, of the purity of her legislation, and the upright adminis- 
tration of her laws. In this younger country one great advan- 
tage of our connection with Great Britain will be, that, under 
her auspices, inspired by her example, a portion of her empire, 
our public men will be actuated by principles similar to those 
which actuate the statesmen at home. These, although not 
material physical benefits, of which you can make an arith- 
metical calculation, are of such overwhelming advantage to 
our future interests and standing as a nation, that to obtain 

His Confederation Speech. 


them is well worthy of any sacrifice we may be called upon 
to make, and the people of this country are ready to make 
them. (Cheers). 

“We should feel, also, sincerely grateful to a beneficent 
Providence that we have had the opportunity vouchsafed us 
of calmly considering this great constitutional change, this 
peaceful revolution — that we have not been hurried into it, 
like the United States, by the exigencies of war — that we have 
not had a violent revolutionary period forced on us, as in 
other nations, by hostile action from without, or by domestic 
dissensions from within. Here we are in peace and prosperity, 
under the fostering government of Great Britain — a dependent 
people, with a government having only a limited and delegated 
authority, and yet allowed, without restriction, and without 
jealousy on the part of the mother country, to legislate for 
ourselves, and peacefully and deliberately to consider and 
determine the future of Canada and of British North America. 

“ It is our happiness to know the expression of the will of 
our gracious Sovereign, through her Ministers, that we have 
her full sanction for our deliberations, that her only solicitude 
is that we shall adopt a system which shall be really for our 
advantage, and that she promises to sanction whatever conclu- 
sion, after full deliberation we may arrive at, as to the best 
mode of securing the well-being — the present and future 
prosperity of British America. (Cheers). It is our privilege 
and happiness to be in such a position, and we cannot be too 
grateful for the blessings thus conferred upon us. (Hear, 
hear). In conclusion, I would again implore the House not to 
let this opportunity pass. It is an opportunity that may 
never recur. If we do not take advantage of the time ; if we 
show ourselves unequal to the occasion, it may never return, 
and we shall hereafter bitterly and unavailingly regret having 
failed to embrace the happy opportunity now offered of 
founding a great nation under the fostering care of Great 
Britain, and our Sovereign Lady, Queen Victoria.” 

Many other able speeches were made by leading men on 
both sides, until the whole subject was thoroughly exhausted. 
The attack on the Government propositions was led by the 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

Honourable A. A. Dorion, who moved an amendment to the 
Twelvth Resolution, “that the people of this province neither 
wish nor seek a new nationality.” What he desired to convey 
by this can only be conjectured, as he did not offer any 
argument in support, but, taken in connection with the 
manifesto issued by him, as soon as the proposed new consti- 
tution was made public, it was thought at the time that his 
desire was to alarm the jealousy of the French-Canadians, and 
thus create opposition to the Union of Canada and the Lower 
Provinces. The views of the House, however, were in harmony 
with those of the Government, and the resolutions were carried 
by a vote of 91 to 33. 

On March 18th Parliament was prorogued, and in the 
following month a deputation, composed of the Honourables 
John A. Macdonald, George E. Cartier, George Brown and A. 
T. Galt, proceeded to England to confer with the Home 
Government on the matter of Confederation. 



Opposition to Confederation in Nova Scotia — Archbishop Connolly’s Letter — 
Death of Sir E. T. Tache — Re-organization of the Cabinet under Sir Nar- 
cisse Belleau — Termination of the Reciprocity Treaty of 1854 — Extracts from 
Debates in Congress — History of Reciprocity — Mr. Derby’s Report — The 
Globe's Editorial thereon — The Fenian organization — Raids on Canada — 
Archbishop Connolly’s Letter to the Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick 
Honourable D’Arcy McGee’s denunciation of Fenianism — Meeting of Dele- 
gates in London — Passage of the Confederation Act — Birth of the Dominion 
of Canada, July 1, 1867. 

I N the Maritime Provinces, and especially in Nova Scotia, 
a determined opposition to the project of Confederation 
was offered by a portion of the press, and a section of the 
people led by the Honourable Joseph Howe, a man of great 
ability, and who wielded an immense influence and used 
every possible effort to prevent the scheme being carried 
into effect. To meet the arguments thus advanced, many 
others offered their views in the press and on the platform, 
and, of these, there were none whose opinions carried greater 
weight or received more attention than those of Archbishop 
Connolly in reply to the Halifax Morning Chronicle. Both 
on account of its intrinsic merit and also of the dignified 
position of the Right Rev. writer, the letter received a wide 
circulation, and did much in directing the public mind in 
the proper direction. We give the following extracts : — 

“ If one-half of what you say about Fenians and armed 
and hostile organizations in a neighbouring country be true, 
which I do not contradict, some or many of our Catholic 
Churches, with or without our consent, may be turned into 
drill-rooms — but if I know anything of the Catholic body 
in this country, I vouch for it, they will never be used for 
the purposes of pretended loyalists and sympathizers, or the 
foreign foe, and much less for the Fenian Brotherhood on 
their quixotic expedition, unless, indeed, it be to help them 
in finding and filling up these much talked of and mysterious 
coffins from which, according to you, Mr. Editor, their mus- 
kets are to be supplied. 



The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

“ If half what you say be true (although I am no poli- 
tician), on the strength of your own argument, I say the 
sooner we are confederated the better. If the maxim be 
universally admitted that Union is strength, no time is to 
be lost, for in your hypothesis we will at once require all 
the elements of strength at our command, and (may a kind 
Providence forbid) perhaps more too. 

“To leave Upper and Lower Canada and New Brunswick 
to their fate, as you propose, and to fall back on the impregn- 
able ramparts of Nova Scotia, with a militia of fifty thousand 
men, and a nucleus of a British army of thirty or forty thous- 
and, is precisely what an American or our worst enemy 
would suggest if a war were to commence to-morrow. Wait 
until Upper and Lower Canada and New Brunswick be 
swallowed up one after another ; wait until we shall have 
detached three millions of fellow subjects — good men and 
true — from their allegiance to Britain, and added them to 
the numberless hordes of the enemy already comprising the 
population of almost a whole continent ; wait until we have 
two or three hundred thousand men, succeeded by as many 
more, if need be, on our frontier line, at Amherst, or per- 
chance at the head of the Basin, or the Three Mile House, 
and then what you say about the advantages of responsible 
government and the blessings of isolation and the strength 
of a militia of fifty thousand, will be our never failing resource 
against every calamity. 

“ Sir, either there is, or there is not, danger, or, in other 
words, either the nation on our borders has or has not the 
power to pull down our flag and destroy us as a people. If 
they have the power, then good intentions and inclinations 
are a matter of no importance whatever. We are, then, living 
only on sufferance, on mere toleration. Our lives and liberties, 
and the means of paying $4.10 taxes, and everything we hold 
most dear, are staked on a haphazard, on which no man can 
calculate, and no nation can or ought to depend for a single , 

“If there be 50,000 men already prepared to invade this 
country, as you admit, instead of labouring to keep us in our 

Archbishop Connolly’s Letter. 


present disjointed and defenceless position, you should rather 
call on all to unite where a single man cannot be dispensed 
with and gird on our armour for the rencontre. If respons- 
ible government, which the great and good men of this 
country won for us, be a precious heirloom on the Liliputian 
scale, on which we now find it, instead of bartering it away 
for nothing by Confederation, as you say, we shall rather, in 
my opinion, add to its lustre and value, and ennoble and 
enrich it, and make it boundlessly grander and more secure 
for ourselves and those who are to come after us. We obtained 
responsible government from the mother country, in whose 
legislative halls we had not a single member to represent us. 
We are now, on the contrary, asked to transfer the rich and 
prized deposit to a place which will be a part only of our 
common country, where our voice must be heard, and where 
we will have a fuller and fairer representation than the city of 
London, or Liverpool, or Bristol, can boast of in their English 
House of Commons ; and this is the great difference between 
obtaining from England what we had not and transferring 
what we now have, in order to make it more valuable and 
more available for our own purpose, and, by far, more secure. 
Confederation, therefore, instead of depriving us of the privi- 
leges of self-government, is the only practical and reliable 
guarantee for its continuance. We are too small to be war- 
ranted in the hope of being able to hold it always on the 
strength of our own resources, and England, if not too weak, 
is certainly too prudent and too cautious to risk her last 
shilling and her last man to a country where, instead of a 
population of 4,000,000, she will have scarcely one-tenth of 
that number to help her against the united power of a whole 
continent. To deny, therefore, the obvious advantages of 
Confederation, you must first prove that union is not strength 
— that England, under the Hierarchy, and France, under her 
feudal chains and Barons, were greater and stronger and 
happier than they now are as the two greatest nations of the 
world. You must prove that Lucerne, and Geneva, and Berne 
and the Grisons would be equally strong and secure out of 
the confederation of their sister cantons in Switzerland; and 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

that Florida, and Texas, and Delaware and Little Rhode 
Island, in the neighbouring States, would be stronger if 
detached from each other. You must prove that the petty 
and miserable republics of Central America, with all their 
responsible government, and entire exemption from foreign 
control, are in any way benefited by their smallness and 
isolation, and their reluctance to coalesce and form one strong 
government as the only possible guarantee for the lives and 
liberties and happiness of all. 

“ On the principle that the part is greater than the whole, 
you must prove that the smaller the state, the greater, and 
stronger, and happier the people ; and that on your own 
principle the repeal of the Union at the present moment 
would be a signal benefit to Cape Briton, and Yarmouth, and 
Shelburne, where they have far stronger local reasons for 
being dissatisfied with the central government in Halifax than 
Nova Scotia can ever have for being united, with Ottawa as 
its capital, and the boundless British territory beyond our 
borders. Prove all this if you can, and without referring to 
the financial and commercial views at all, which are com- 
pletely beyond and beside the question, you will convert me 
and thousands like me in Nova Scotia to the policy of having 
a large and effective militia, and paying heavy taxes for the 
debt already contracted and the two contemplated railroads, 
and we shall contentedly settle down according to your 
scheme within no hope within our natural lifetime of having 
an intercolonial railroad or more frequent intercourse with 
our sister colonies and the vast country that extends for 
thousands of miles along their borders. 

“ I yield to no man in my heartfelt appreciation of the 
blessings we all enjoy in this country, and I ask for nothing 
more but to be able to calculate on their continuance — Sed hoc 
opus hie labor est. This is the difficulty, and I will say with 
all candour the only difficulty for me and all others who have 
everthing to lose. No country situated as Nova Scotia now 
is, with a vast area and sparse population, can reasonably hope 
to maintain its independence for any considerable period. 
Unless we are to be a single exception, and an anomaly in 

Termination of the Reciprocity Treaty 6i 

the history of nations, some change must come, and come 
soon. In a word, Mr. Editor, as you say, ‘ Something must 
be done.’ 

“ Instead of cursing like the boys in the upturned boat, 
and holding on until we are fairly on the brink of the cataract, 
we must at once begin to pray and strike out for the shore by 
all means, before we get too far down on the current. We 
must, at this most critical moment, invoke the Arbiter of 
Nations for wisdom, and, abandoning in time our perilous 
position, we must strike out boldly, and at some risk, for some 
rock on the nearest shore — some resting place of greater 
security. A cavalry raid visit from our Fenian friends on 
horseback through the plains of Canada, and the fertile valleys 
of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, may cost more in a single 
week than Confederation for the next fifty years ; and if we 
are to believe you, where is the security, even at the present 
moment, against such a disaster. Without the whole power of 
the mother country by land and sea, and the concentration in 
a single hand of all the strength of British America, our con- 
dition is seen at a glance. Whenever the present difficulties 
will terminate — and who can tell the moment ? — we will be at 
the mercy of our neighbours ; and, victorious or otherwise, they 
will be eminently a military people, and with all their appar- 
ent indifference about annexing this country, and all the 
friendly feelings that may be talked, they will have the power 
to strike when they please, and this is precisely the kernel and 
the only touch-point of the whole question. No nation ever 
had the power of conquest that did not use it, or abuse it, at 
the very first favourable opportunity. 

“ All that is said of the magnanimity and forbearance of 
mighty nations can be explained on the principle of sheer 
expediency, as the world knows. The whole face of Europe 
has changed, and the dynasties of many hundred years have 
been swept away within our time on the principle of might 
alone — the oldest, the strongest, and, as some would have it, 
the most sacred of titles. The thirteen original States of 
America, with all their professions of self-denial, have been all 
the time, by money-power and by war, and by negotiation, 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

extending their frontier, until they more than quadrupled 
their territory within sixty years ; and, believe it who may, 
are they now of their own accord to come to a full stop? No; 
as long as they have power they must go onward, for it is the 
very nature of power to grip whatever is within its reach. It 
is not their hostile feelings, therefore, but it is their power, and 
only their power I dread, and I now state it as my solemn 
conviction, that it becomes the duty of every British subject 
in these provinces to control that power, not by the insane 
policy of attacking or weakening them, but by strengthening 
ourselves — rising, with the whole of Britain at our back, to 
their level ; and so be prepared for any emergency. There is no 
sensible or unprejudiced man in the community who does not 
see that vigorous and timely preparation is the only possible 
means of saving us from the horrors of war such as the world 
has never seen. To be fully prepared is the only practical 
argument that can have weight with a powerful enemy, and 
make him pause beforehand and count the cost And, as the 
sort of preparation I speak of is utterly hopeless without the 
union of the provinces, so at a moment when public opinion is 
being formed on this vital point, as one deeply concerned, I 
feel it a duty to declare myself unequivocally in favour of 
Confederation as cheaply and as honourably obtained as pos- 
sibe, but Confederation at all hazards and at all reasonable 

“ After the most mature consideration, and all the argu- 
ments I have heard on both sides for the last month, these are 
my inmost convictions on the necessity and merits of a 
measure, which alone, under Providence, can secure to us 
social order and peace, and rational liberty, and all the bless- 
ings we now enjoy under the mildest government, and the 
hallowed institutions of the freest and happiest country in the 

Parliament met in Quebec, for the last time, on August 
8th. The Premier, Sir E. P. Tache, having died on July 
30th, a re-organization of the Cabinet became necessary. 
The Honourable John A. Macdonald was called upon to 
perform the duty by His Excellency, but objection being 

Death of Sir E. P. Tache. 


raised by Mr. George Brown, he waived his claims, as also 
did Mr. Cartier, and Sir Narcisse Belleau, a member of the 
Legislative Council, became Premier. So much has been 
said in these pages of Sir Etienne Paschal Tache that it is 
only necessary to add that he was born in St. Thomas, below 
Quebec, in 1795, and consequently was seventy years of age. 
He was not a man of showy qualities or brilliant talents, 
but was the most loyal and self-sacrificing of colleagues and 
thoroughly devoted to the interests of Britain in America. 
He was Aide-de-Cainp to the Queen, held the honorary 
rank of a Colonel in the army and was a Knight in the 
Roman Order of St. Gregory. He had, previous to enter- 
ing Parliament, filled the positions of Deputy Adjutant- 
General of Militia, Government Director of the Grand Trunk 
Railway, member of the Board of Railway Commissioners, 
and member of the Board of Education for Lower Canada. 

The despatches laid upon the table of the House 
expressed the willingness of the Imperial Government to 
assist in carrying out the scheme of Confederation, and the 
report of the delegates being received, and the necessary 
measures carried through, Parliament was prorogued. 

It had for some time been very evident that the United 
States Government had determined upon putting an end to 
the Reciprocity Treaty negotiated in 1854. 

The fifth article of that Treaty provided that: “The 
Treaty shall remain in force for ten years from the date 
at which it may come into operation, and further, until the 
expiration of twelve months after either of the high con- 
tracting parties shall give notice to the other of its wish 
to terminate the same ; each of the high contracting parties 
being at liberty to give such notice to the other at the 
end of the said term of ten years or at any time afterwards.” 

The Treaty came into operation on March 16, 1855, and 
consequently the earliest date which it could be made to 
expire was March 16, 1866. 

In May, 1864, the House of Representatives took up the 
matter with great earnestness and the debates indicated that 
strong views were entertained, both as to its abrogation and 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

retention. Those who desired to see the treaty at an end 
seemed imbued with the idea that Canada had done some- 
thing for which her people should be punished, that without 
the treaty they could not exist, but must perish miserably, 
or join their lot to that of the United States. They were 
not in a humour to settle the question upon purely com- 
mercial grounds ; considerations, such as these, were, for the 
time, subordinate to the political interests. On the other 
hand the Boston Board of Trade and other commercial bodies 
together with such leading papers as the New York Herald , 
concurred in the view that the balance of advantage was, 
altogether on the side of the Americans and, therefore, that 
the treaty should be retained. Some idea of the arguments 
advanced in the House of Representatives will be gathered 
from the following extracts from the debates : — 

“ The House proceeded, as the regular order of business, 
to the consideration of a joint resolution (H.R. No. 56) 
authorizing the President to give the requisite notice for 
terminating the treaty made by Great Britain on behalf of 
the British Provinces in North America, and to appoint Com- 
missioners to negotiate a new treaty with the British Govern- 
ment, based upon the true principle of Reciprocity. 

Mr. Baxter — “The question before this House, as now pre- 
sented, is whether a notice to terminate this treaty, called 
the Reciprocity Treaty, shall be given pure and simple, or 
whether it shall be diluted to a milk-and-water consistency. 
This Reciprocity Treaty, so called, is a misnomer entirely. 
After the people of Great Britain became dissatisfied with 
taxing themselves for the benefit of the Colonies, and after 
the corn laws were repealed, it became necessary that that 
Government should be supplied with breadstufifs from some 
other quarter. Immediately the question was agitated in 
Canada, and men were sent here to make proffers to our 
Government, pretending that they had something to give for 
what they asked in return. General Taylor’s Cabinet, with 
Mr. Preston, of Virginia, in it, gave it no heed whatever, 
beyond a proper examination, declaring that they had no 
constitutional right to make such a treaty or compact ; and, 

Debates on Reciprocity Treaty. 


in the next place, to do it would be impolitic and destructive 
of American interests and American policy. 

“Now, sir, I do not expect to shut the Canadians out. 
I expect that they will enjoy our markets. God knows I 
do not want to destroy that people entirely, because some 
of them have been and still are most glorious friends of ours. 
I wish I could say that there were a majority of such there, 
but they are such men as I honour. I know they have 
nowhere else to go but to our markets. The ‘ mother 
country/ as they call it, has failed to protect them. The 
markets there do not suit them and are of no account to 
them, but they come to us for our markets. I say let them 
come, but let them not come to rob the brave men of our own 
country, who have given their best blood for the protection 
of our liberties. Let them not come to the exclusion of those 
who have birthrights and who bear the heat and burden of 
the day. We will treat them as well as we do the most 
favoured nation, as neighbours, but we will not feed or clothe 
them. If they are to enjoy our markets, let it be on the 
same terms with other nations of the world. Why not? Is 
there any man opposed to giving this notice who can show 
what has ever been discovered during the working of this 
treaty which would induce us to believe that there is any- 
thing on the part of the Canadians that they can give us 
for what we can give them ? What reciprocal advantages 
can they return to us ? What benefits do they give us for 
those we confer on them ? They tell us that we may go 
to their markets. Why, sir, they have no markets. We may 
go there, but what is the use of going there if there are no 
markets ? I know there are no markets there ; I was born 
near there, and I know what I say. Fifty bullocks from 
Illinois would frighten every butcher out of Montreal ! 

“ I am much obliged to the House for indulging me, and 
I will detain them but one moment longer. If you are going 
to pass this resolution I want to amend it a little. If this 
commission is to be provided for, I want its name changed 
to ‘ A commission to arrange terms for continuing, in a 

VOL II. 5 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

dignified position, the wet-nurse of the sick British Colonies/ 
(Laughter). I have done.” 

Mr. Sweat — “ My idea is that we can revise this treaty 
without abrogating it, and the' t we can treat better with these 
Provinces while the present treaty is living than we can with 
a dead treaty. 

“ It has been said that there exists an unfriendly feeling 
between the Provinces and the United States. Sir, the 
people of the Lower Provinces of Canada are friends of the 
loyal citizens of the United States. However much the 
Canadian papers may have given an appearance of a public 
sentiment against us, it is a mistake to suppose that their 
interests are adverse to ours or that the people there are 
unfriendly to us. 

“ The question is not whether the treaty is what we would 
have it — in my opinion it is not — but whether commissioners 
shall be appointed to revise and improve it. Sir, if there is to 
be a revision of the treaty it will need amendments in behalf 
of the interests of Maine quite as much as of the interests of 
any other state. 

“ Now, sir, shall we be governed by such a course as this, or 
shall we be governed by passion, excitement, purposes of 
retaliation, or promptings of revenge ? Because some Cana- 
dians have exhibited ill-feeling against this country shall we 
undertake to stultify ourselves by breaking up our commercial 
relations with them, and destroying the interests of our own 
citizens to a large extent ? I believe that some gentlemen 
upon this floor are actuated more by their prejudice against 
this people than by any other consideration in the line of 
policy they are advocating in this matter. Now, I submit to 
gentlement upon this side of the House and upon the other 
side, that even if all that is alleged in reference to this Cana- 
dian people be true, whether we are justified in allowing 
ourselves to be governed by such considerations in determin- 
ing a national, commercial question ? 

“ Shall we, if we can, negotiate a new treaty upon the 
principles of reciprocity ? If we make the effort to revise this, 
and to make it mutually beneficial and satisfactory, and fail, I 

Debate on Reciprocity Treaty. 


need not inform the House that vve may then give notice of 
the abrogation of the existing treaty. It is said there is a 
necessity now of giving this notice, as though we could not 
even wait until September nth, which will be the termination 
of the ten years, as though we could not even make an effort 
to come to a fair and honourable understanding. 

“ With all the defects of the present treaty, the balance of 
trade for the last ten years has been in favour of the United 

On January 11, 1865, the resolution to repeal the 
Reciprocity Treaty was taken up in the United States Senate, 
and carried by 31 yeas to 8 nays. We give the concluding 
speeches of Mr. Hale and Mr. Sumner. 

Mr. Hale, of New Hampshire, said “he was sorry the Sen- 
ate contemplated the repeal of the treaty. He regarded it as 
a step in the wrong direction. The treaty had been productive 
of good to both parties, and to repeal it could effect no good. 
If the object in repealing it was to benefit our commercial and 
financial interests, he would not object to it ; but it had come 
from the committee on foreign relations, and no report had 
Teen made as to why action should be taken. It had been 
said that the treaty operated all one way. The reasons 
assigned by those who urged its abrogation were vague and 
unsatisfactory. He (Mr. Hale) had an interest in the com- 
mercial prosperity of the country, and he had taken the 
trouble to look at the operation of the treaty in the gross. 
Some special pleader might make out a case against it on a 
particular point, but its general operation had been unquestion- 
ably beneficial. Mr. Hale read a statement from a letter of 
the Secretary of the Treasury to show that, under the oper- 
ations of the Treaty, the exports to Canada had been increased 
in a few years from $6,000,000 to $25,000,000. Both free 
goods and duty paying goods had increased. He had been 
told that Canada had altered her tariff so as to make it burden- 
some to American commerce. The rates had not been more 
than two per cent., and in the last year they had decreased. 
In 1861 they were n neteen per cent., only a half per cent, 
larger than in 1850. The statement that there had been unfair 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

advantage taken in the way of duties was therefore a mistake. 
In 1853 the exports to Canada were $7,000,000. In 1854 
$15,000,000; in 1856 $22,000,000; and in 1863 $28,000,000. 
The imports had increased from $490,000 to $20,000,000. 
Mr. Hale was sorry the Senate was about to act so 
soon upon this matter. The Chamber of Commerce of 
New York had taken the matter under consideration, 
and would soon report. He understood the Chamber of 
Commerce of Chicago, was averse to the repeal of the 
treaty. He thought we ought not to strike a blow at com- 
merce, when we needed the sinews of war so much. In con- 
clusion Mr. Hale said the abrogation of the treaty would be 
regarded in Canada and England as retaliation for wrongs 
which the people of the United States rightly imagined they 
had sustained, and he was sure the people of Canada were 
willing now to do anything they could to repair the wrongs 
that had been committed lately, and to prevent their repeti- 
tion. He believed it would strengthen the rebels and weaken 
the Union cause to repeal the treaty. Suppose it true that 
the repeal of the treaty would impoverish Canada, he did not 
believe it would be wise to do so. We ought to wish our 
neighbours rich and prosperous and enterprising ; able to buy 
from us and help our commerce. In reducing them to poverty 
we would injure ourselves, but he had no hope of preventing 
the passage of the resolution. This was a time when men 
took counsels of their passions rather than of the welfare of 
the country. The treaty had been wise and salutary, and 
under it commerce had grown up and improved. Until some 
gentleman could point out some great injury that had been 
done, he hoped the Senate would pause. He hoped that the 
merchants of New York would have an opportunity to be 
heard on the subject.” 

Mr. Summer said : “ The recxprocity treaty has a beautiful 
name. It suggests at once equality, exchange and security, 
and it is because it was supposed to advance these ideas prac- 
tically, that this treaty was originally accepted by the people 
of the United States. If, however, it shall appear that while 
organizing exchange, it forgets equality and equity in an 

Debate on Reciprocity Treaty. 


essential respect, then must a modification be made in con- 
formity with just principles. I mean to be brief, but I hope, 
though brief, to make the proper conclusion apparent. It is a 
question for reason, not for passion or sentiment, and in this 
spirit I enter upon the discussion. The treaty may be seen 
under four different heads. It concerns the fisheries, the navi- 
gation of the St. Lawrence, the commerce of the United States 
and the British Provinces, and the revenue of the United 
States. These fisheries have been a source of anxiety 
throughout our history. Even from the beginning, and for 
several years previous to the reciprocity treaty, they had been 
the occasion of mutual irritation, verging at times on positive 
outbreak. This is a plain advantage which cannot be denied, 
but so far as I have been able to examine official returns, I do 
not find any further evidence showing the value of the treaty 
in this connection, while opinions, even among those most 
interested in the fisheries, are divided. There are partisans 
for it in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and partisans against it in 
Maine. If the treaty related exclusively to fisheries, I should 
not be willing to touch it, but the practical question is whether 
the seeming advantage in this respect is sufficient to counter- 
balance the disadvantages in other respects. Next comes the 
navigation of the St. Lawrence, but this plausible concession 
has proved to be but little more than a name. It appears that 
during the first six years of the treaty only forty American 
vessels, containing 12,550 tons, passed seaward through the 
St. Lawrence, and during the same time only nineteen vessels, 
containing 5,446 tons, returned by the same open highway. 
These are very petty amounts when we consider the value of 
the commerce on the lakes, which, in 1856, was $58,797,320, or 
when we consider the carrying trade between the United 
States and the British Provinces. Take the years 1857 to 
1862 inclusive, and we shall find that during this period the 
shipping of the United States, which cleared for the British 
Provinces, was 10,707,239 tons, and the foreign shipping, 
which cleared during this same period, was 7,39 1 >399 tons, 
while the shipping of the United States, which entered at our 
custom houses from the British Provinces, was 10,056,183 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

tons, and the foreign shipping which entered was 6,455,520 
tons. I mention these things by way of contrast. In com- 
parison with these grand movements, the business which we 
have been able to do on the St. Lawrence seems to be trivial. 
It need not be considered as an element in the present discus- 
sion. The treaty may be seen next in its bearings on 
the commerce between the two countries. This has 
increased immensely, but it is difficult to see how much of 
this increase is due to the treaty and how much is due 
to the natural growth of population and the facilities 
for transportation in both countries. If it could be traced 
exclusively or in any large measure to the treaty, it would 
be an element not to be disregarded, but it does not follow, 
from the occurrence of this increase, after the acceptance of 
the treaty, that it was on account of the treaty. The census 
of the United States and of the British Provinces, will show 
an increase of population, which must not be disregarded in 
determining the origin of the increase of commerce. There 
are also railroads furnishing prompt and constant means of 
intercommunication which have gone into successful operation 
only since the treaty. It would be difficult to exaggerate the 
influence these have exercised in quickening and extending 
commerce. I cannot doubt that the railroad system of the 
two countries has been of itself a reciprocity and equal to any 
written on parchment. The exte'nt of trade before and after 
the treaty may be shown in a few figures. In the three years 
immediately preceding the treaty the total exports to Canada 
and the other British provinces were $48,216,518, and the total 
imports were $22,588,577, being of exports to imports in the 
proportion of 100 to 46. In the ten years of the treaty the 
total exports to Canada and the British provinces were 
$256,350,931. The total imports were $200,399,786. Accord- 
ing to these amounts the exports were in the proportion of 
100 to 78. If we take Canada alone we shall find the change 
in their proportion greater still. The total exports to Canada 
in the three years immediately preceding the treaty were 
$31,866,865, and the total imports were $6,587,674, being in 
proportion of 100 to 52, while the whole exports to Canada 

Debate on Reciprocity Treaty. 


alone during the ten years of the treaty were $176,371,91 1, 
and the total imports were $161,474,347, being in the propor- 
tion of 100 to 94. I present these tables simply to lay before 
you the extent and nature of the change in the commerce 
between the two countries, but I forbear embarking on the 
much debated enquiry as to the effect of a difference between 
the amount of exports and imports, involving, as it does, the 
whole perilous question of the balance of trade. In the view 
which I take on the present occasion, it is not necessary to 
consider it. The reciprocity treaty cannot be maintained or 
overturned on any contested principle of political economy. 
I come, in the last place, to the influence of the treaty on the 
revenues of the country, and here the custom house is our 
principal witness. The means of determining this question 
will be found in the authentic tables which have been pub- 
lished from time to time on the reports of the treasury, and 
especially in the report made to Congress at this session, 
which I have in my hand. Looking at these tables we find 
certain unanswerable points. I begin with an estimate founded 
on the trade before the treaty. From this it appears that if 
no treaty had been made and the trade had increased in the 
same ratio as before the treaty, Canada would have paid to 
the United States in ten years of the treaty at least 
$16,373,800, from which she has been relieved. This sum has 
actually been lost to the United States. In return Canada 
has given up $2,650,890, being the amount it would have 
collected if no treaty had been made. This is a vast pro- 
portion to the detriment of the United States.” Mr. Sumner 
then quoted from the report of the Secretary of the Treasury, 
showing that the treaty had released from duty a total sum of 
$42,333,357 in value, of goods of Canada, more than of goods 
the product of the United States. 

All the speeches convey the idea that a feeling of irrita- 
tion against Canada was the real cause of the abrogation of 
the treaty, and the monetary article of the New York Herald 
is very plain-spoken in its views on the subject : 

“The vote of the Senate, by 31 against 8, in favour of 
the abrogation of the reciprocity treaty with Canada, indi- 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

cated the general feeling on the subject of our relations with 
Great Britain and her possessions, more than a sound politico- 
economic view of the question. The arguments both for and 
in opposition to a repeal of the treaty were inadequate and 
without grasp ; and very few of those who cast their votes on 
one side or the other showed that they had taken any pains 
to inform themselves of the facts relating to the treaty and 
their bearings, so as to be enabled to draw fair conclusions, 
while those who appeared to have done so failed by their 
observations to view them in a comprehensive light pro and 
con, although Mr. Hale, of New Hampshire, discussed the 
snbject with tolerable impartiality. He argued that as the 
exports to Canada from the United States had increased in 
value from $7,000,000 in 1853, to $28,000,000 in 1863, and the 
imports from $490,000 to $20,000,000, therefore the treaty had 
been beneficial in developing our trade wiih the neighbouring 
provinces. Mr. Sumner- on the other hand, took the opposite 
side, and argued like a protectionist of the last century. 

“ The very unstatesmanlike deductions of Mr. Sumner, from 
these figures are, that if no treaty had existed, and the trade 
had increased in the same ratio as before the treaty, Canada 
would have paid to the United States during the ten years of 
the treaty at least $16,373,800, which she has been in this way 
relieved of. ‘ This sum,’ says Mr. Sumner, ‘ has actually 
been lost to the United States and this remark alone shows 
him to be but a sorry political economist. In the first place, 
he assumes almost an impossibility when he supposes that the 
trade between the two countries would have increased in the 
same ratio if the treaty had not been in operation. It was the 
treaty that mainly caused the increase. In the next instance, 
Mr. Sumner makes a grave mistake when he says the United 
States ‘ lost ’ the amount stated. He overlooks the important 
fact, that all taxes upon commodities fall ultimately upon the 
consumers, and that by importing goods during the last ten 
years from Canada under the treaty, we were saving in their 
reduced cost what would otherwise have been expended in 
duties. Mr. Sumner, on the same principle, would consider 
the customs duties a gain to the United States, whereas 


Minister oj Customs. 

History of Reciprocity. 


those duties are paid by the people of this country to the 
Government, and the import tax relieves every citizen who 
consumes imported goods as directly as any other tax does.” 

The leading commercial papers of the great cities of the 
American Union — papers that were accepted as organs of the 
commercial interests of that country — were unanimous in 
protesting against the abrogation of the treaty. The policy 
of reciprocal trade had not been adopted without long consider- 
ation by the leading merchants and public men of the United 
States. As early as 1816, President Madison brought the 
subject before Congress in a special message. President 
Monroe had tried to negotiate a treaty for that purpose, and 
repeated efforts in the same direction were made during the 
Administration of John Quincy Adams and General Jackson. 
These attempts to secure reciprocal trade were continued, on 
one side or the other, for some years without much effect. 
In 1847 the Canadian Parliament authorized the admission 
into Canada, free of duty, of the natural productions of the 
United States, whenever the latter country should reciprocate 
by similar legislation. In the same year the British Minister 
at Washington proposed an arrangement for reciprocal trade, 
but the matter lay. in abeyance several years* In 1852 the 
New York Chamber of Commerce took up the subject and 
pressed it earnestly. Reciprocity was supported by most of 
the leading statesmen of the American Union, including, 
amongst others, Webster, Everett, Douglas, Seward, Marcy, 
Dix, Clayton and Cushing. The treaty was finally negotiated 
in 1854, and the necessary legislation to carry it into effect 
adopted. Next year the treaty went into operation, and was 
so satisfactory, that in 1856 the New York Chamber of 
Commerce petitioned Congress to remove all restrictions 
upon the commerce between Canada and the United States, 
by procuring reciprocity in manufactures, as well as in 
natural productions, and by securing an arrangement which 
should open to the vessels of both countries the coasting 
trade of the intervening waters, with all the advantages which 
then existed between adjoining states. 

The advantages of the treaty had been altogether on the 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

American side. They had diverted our foreign trade mom the 
St. Lawrence to their own ports. Their sales to us had been 
much larger than our sales to them ; they had enjoyed the 
benefits of the fisheries on the British American coast, whilst 
we had scarcely sent a smack in exchange into their waters ; 
and they had enjoyed the use of our Welland and St. Law- 
rence canals, which afforded an outlet for the commerce of the 
North-Western States. A speeial report on the subject was 
made by Mr. Derby, the Commissioner of the Treasury 
Department at Washington, to the Secretary of the Depart- 
ment, from which the following extracts are taken : 

As to the general result of the treaty, he states that the 
commerce of the United States with the British American 
Provinces “rose from $2,100,000 in 1828 to $3,800,000 in 1832; 
$8,100,000 in 1840; $9,300,000 in 1846; $18,700,000 in 1851; 
$50,300,000 in 1856 ; and to $68,000,000 in 1865. 

“ American fishermen are by this treaty allowed to 
frequent and approach, without regard to distance, all the 
shores of four provinces, and to land and cure their fish 
there without the consent of the private owners. 

• • a • • • • 

“The return of fish and oil from this tonnage for 1862, 
considerably exceeded $14,000,000 — drawn from the rich 
pastures of the deep. We have not exact returns of the fish 
or oil landed on our shores, but we have proof that in 1862, 
and down to the present hour, the trade has paid fair profits 
beyond outfits, repairs, insurance and other disbursements, 
and that these average more than $80 per ton for the vessels 
and boats in service, or more than $13,000,000. 

“ The number of American vessels in the fisheries has 
ranged from 2,414 in 1850 to 3,815 in 1862, besides boats in 
the shore fisheries. Six hundred sail of these vessels have 
in a single season fished for mackerel in the Gulf of St. 
Lawrence and Bay of Chaleurs, and taken fish to the amount 
of $4,500,000. 

Mr. Derby's Report. 


“ American fisheries are not only the chief nurseries for 
the mariners and petty officers of our navy, but they are the 
schools from which spring the most able and enterprising 
mates, captains, and merchants who conduct the foreign 
commerce of the nation. 

“ The St. Lawrence is a valuable outlet for our cereals, but 
its importance must depend in a great measure upon the 
enlargement of the canals and increase of their depth to 
twelve or fifteen feet to suit a class of vessels adapted to the 
navigation of the ocean. 

“ The goods we export (to the Maritime Provinces) are 
more available than those we receive, and for several years 
before the treaty our exports averaged in value more than 
twice the value of our imports. This disparity has been 
reduced, but still the balance of trade is in our favour, and is 
realized in part from drafts on England. 

“ The shipment of coal from the provinces to the United 
States has increased from 220,000 tons in 1863, to at least 
400,000 tons in 1865. * * We are not, however, to 

forget that we already export from 105,000 to 171,000 tons of 
coal to Canada. 

“ Provincial coal can be laid down in the seaports of New 
England for five dollars per ton in specie. It would seem as 
if nature had designed this region for the supply of our north- 
eastern coast. The coal from Nova Scotia is bituminous, and 
thus differs from the coal of Pennsylvania, and is adapted for 
other uses, in gas works, forges and furnaces. At least half 
of it is used for gas. Fifty thousand tons are annually used 
by one gas company in Boston. It is used, also, to a consid- 
erable extent by the steamers which run to foreign ports. 

“ Canada supplies us with 3,500,000 pounds of combing 
wool the present year, of a quality we do not produce, but 
which we require for our new fabrics for mousse-line-delaiues. 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

alpacas and bunting. . . . The free wool of 

Canada has been an inestimable favour to our worsted manu- 
facturers. It does not compete with the productions of our 
farmers, as we raise little more than 200,000 pounds long 
wool, while Canada consumes 300,000 pounds of our clothing 
wool annually. It is not possible that our production of long 
wool can keep up with the demand.” 

The treaty has “ quieted strife and restored the rights 
secured by the treaty of ’83 to our fisheries, from which spring 
the seamen to our navy, the mates, masters, and intrepid mer- 
chants who have guided our keels to the confines of the earth.” 
And to sum up the American view of the matter, Mr. Derby 
declares: “A treaty under which our commerce with the prov- 
inces has increased threefold, or from $17,000,000 in 1852, to 
$68,000,000 in 1864, is not to be abandoned, or the amity 
which now exists between the contiguous nations of the same 
origin to be endangered, without careful investigation and 
conclusive reasons.” And again : “ If, under the treaty, our 
commerce with the provinces has, in twelve years, increased 
threefold, and in that commerce the tonnage arriving and 
departing from our ports exceeds 6,600,000 tons ; if in this 
tonnage we have the preponderance ; if our country has made 
rapid progress both in population and wealth — is there any 
reason to dread the operation of a new treaty more favourable 
to our own productions than the treaty expiring?” 

But Mr. Derby goes further. He shows that the commerce 
which has grown up under the treaty is so valuable to the 
United States, that should it be brought to an end on March 
17th, it would be suicidal to impose high duties upon the 
products of the provinces. He says : 

“There are few of the great staples of the provinces it 
would be wise to tax heavily, should the chance be afforded. 
It would be unwise to tax the minor articles, and most unwise 
to tax those which would be diverted by a duty. The field of 
inquiry is limited to the great staples of the provinces — wheat, 
oats, barley, coal, lumber and fish, and possibly horses.” 

Commenting upon this report the Toronto Globe of Febru- 
ary 3, 1866, says : 

The Globe” on Mr. Derby’s Report. 


“ In view of all the perplexities of the case for Poor Uncle 
Sam, Mr. Derby exclaims : 4 What is to be done ? * 

“ ‘ Are we to go back, with contiguous and growing Pro- 
vinces, more populous than the United States in 1783, to a 
system of retaliation and restricted commerce ? ’ 

444 Would it be wise to incur the ill-will of a province whose 
frontier for three thousand miles borders on our own ? * 

“ 4 Would it be politic to stimulate illicit trade at a time 
when we require high duties to meet our engagements ? * 

" 4 Should we divert business from our canals and railways 
to a new and circuitous route across New Brunswick ? ’ 

“ 4 It is doubtless desirable for Canada to reach our home 
market and to gain a direct route, summer and winter,' to the 
sea ; but she has open to her half the year the route of the 
St. Lawrence, connected by a series of canals and railways, 
with the lakes : And is it our policy to turn all her trade 
that way, or through the wilds of New Brunswick ? ’ 

44 And in desperation at the threatened loss of the fisheries, 
Mr. Derby exclaims : 4 Are we to come to blows with her 
for rights won by the sword in the war of the Revolution, 
which improvident Commissioners have impaired or put in 
jeopardy, or shall we make a Treaty? We must either risk 
our mackerel fishery, treat, or annex the provinces.’ 

“Yes — this is the alternative — TREAT with the Provincials, 
or 4 annex the prc vinces.’ Which course would be the best 
for Uncle Sam, Mi. Derby has no doubt. He goes strongly 
for annexation, or absorption. 4 If,’ says he, 4 the Maritime 
Provinces would but, join us spontaneously to-day — sterile 
as may be their soil, under a - sky of steel — still with their 
hardy population, their harbours, fisheries, and seamen, they 
would greatly improve and strengthen our position and aid 
us in our struggle for equality upon the ocean. If we would 
succeed upon the deep, we must either maintain our fisheries, 
or absorb the Provinces.’ 

44 No — Mr. Derby hai no doubt as to absorption being 
decidedly 4 beneficial’ to Uncle Sam. He tells his country- 
men with great gusto that it 4 would bring to the Union a 
white population which will, in 1868, possibly before the 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

measure could be consummated, reach four millions. It 
would bring to us two thousand miles of railways, and vast 
forests and mines, and fisheries and mariners, and nearly two- 
thirds of a million tons of shipping.’ 

“To attain that, Mr. Derby is ready for anything. But 
how to attain it is the question ? Coercion ? — prohibitory 
duties ? — non-intercourse ? There are ‘ gentlemen of intelli- 
gence ’ it seems, and possibly some American ‘ statesmen ’ 
who think that these would bring it about ; but Mr. Derby 
has no such faith. ‘ Is there no danger,’ he asks, ‘ that such 
a policy would produce “ alienation ” instead of Union ? ’ 4 Is 

the present moment,’ he wants to know, ‘ when we are 
mastering a debt of twenty-eight hundred millions by severe 
taxation, an auspicious one for bringing in new States to 
share our burden ? ’ Mr. Derby thinks not. He is of 
opinion that Uncle Sam is decidedly not in a condition to 
offer any temptation to the Provincials at this moment — but 
he lives in hope that ‘ we can offer more inducements and 
attractions at a future day.’ 

“Mr. Derby being unable to attain absorption at this 
moment, goes in for conciliation and negotiation, and a 
treaty. He does not believe in ‘ Legislative Reciprocity.’ 
Mr. Derby, like a sensible man, goes for a treaty. ‘ Let us 
treat the Provinces,’ says Mr. Derby, ‘ as friends and patrons, 
as valuable customers, and, if they join us. let them come 
as friends. We desire no unwilling associates.’ 

“The sort of treaty Mr Derby recommends, and his declar- 
ations as to the endorsal by Canadians of his views, we will 
consider hereafter. But meantime, we heartily recommend 
Mr. Derby’s views to the best attention of some of our weak- 
kneed contemporaries, who have been seeing nothing but 
‘ Ruin and Decay ’ in the abrogation of the treaty. And 
especially would we commend them to that class of individ- 
uals who would have the people of Canada to go down on 
their knees to Brother Jonathan.” 

The Canadian Government were anxious to keep the 
treaty in operation, or to negotiate a new one, and were 
willing to make every reasonable concession, believing that 

New York World” on Annexation. 

8 1 

great injury would be done to the country if there were no 
treaty for reciprocal trade with the United States. It was 
said at the time that Mr. George Brown did not concur in 
the views of his colleagues, not being willing to yield as much 
as they were, and he, therefore, considered it his duty to 
resign his seat in the Cabinet. Mr. Brown was a man who 
had such faith in his own views that he was unable to calmly 
consider the strength and sincerity of the convictions of 
others, and in taking that step he acted hastily and unad- 
visedly. Having entered the Cabinet to carry out the great 
scheme of Confederation, he should have remained at his post 
until the project was completed. 

In spite of every effort to the contrary, the treaty came to 
an end on March 16, 1866. The results, however, were not 
so disadvantageous to Canada as were expected in this 
country or looked for by our neighbours. What these results 
actually were will be a proper subject of consideration when 
we come to speak of efforts made in future years to obtain a 
new treaty with the United States which would contain 
elements of advantage to both countries. Suffice it now to 
say, that if the New York World can be accepted as the 
exponent of public opinion, the advocates of the abrogation of 
the Reciprocity Treaty of 1854 believed that absorption of 
Canada into the United States would follow as a matter of 
course. Here are its words, January 30, 1866 : 

“ As annexation seems to be the real beginning and the 
end of argument on this subject with some of those who 
oppose all reciprocity, it is well to caution the Administration 
against the pleasant reports of its employees. It is no new 
characteristic of the worst part of human nature that men are 
inclined to flatter those who are in power, and can give, with- 
hold or perpetuate the emoluments and honours of office. 
But if intended to promote annexation of the provinces to the 
United States, the method which has been selected has been 
most unfortunate, and has thus far produced results exactly 
the reverse of those desired by its originators. Not one influ- 
ential representative of public opinion among the Canadian 
journals — nor, we believe, one newspaper of an inferior class — 




The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

now advocates annexation to the United States. The com- 
mon sentiment is more opposed to it than for many previous 
years. Even those who, six months ago, contributed money to 
promote union, now unite in defying the system of commercial 
coercion, and ask us to consider what we should feel if a similar 
pressure was applied to us to induce us to change our allegi- 
ance to our own country. To this, of course, there can only be 
one answer. It enables us to see ourselves as we are seen by 
others. The Canadian journals speak of Potterization as an 
effort to make them part with their honour and their birth- 
right for unworthy considerations, and they diminish the force 
of whatever inducements we can offer by calling the attention 
of their readers to our system of enormous taxation.” 

Another danger threatened Canada at this time. The 
Fenian Organization had acquired an extraordinary strength 
in the United States. One branch, under Stephens and 
O’Mahony, proposed to drive the English out of Ireland; 
another branch under Roberts and Sweeny, proposed to 
conquer Canada and make it the basis of attack. Arrange- 
ments were made for simultaneous invasions at three points. 
Demonstrations were made near St. Albans, Ogdensburg and 
Buffalo, of which the latter was the most serious. Towards 
the end of May it became known that large bodies of men 
were collecting on the Niagara frontier. Before daybreak on 
June 1st they had landed near Fort Erie and taken possession 
of all the horses and provisions they could lay their hands on. 
No violence, however, was offered to the inhabitants. The 
next day, General O’Neil, who was in command, moved his 
force to an elevated woodland termed Limeridge, and there 
erected temporary fortifications. Meanwhile the Canadian 
Government, who did not realize until the invasion had 
actually taken place, that so serious a step could be seriously 
contemplated, called out the militia force of the country to 
repel the invaders. The Queen’s Own regiment composed 
of ten companies, under Major Gillmor; the 13th of Hamilton, 
composed of six companies, under Major Skinner; the York 
Rifles under Captain Davis; and the Caledonia Rifles, under 
Captain Jackson, were ordered off to the Niagara frontier 

The Fenian Raids. 


Colonel Booker, who was in command of the brigade, did not 
follow out the instructions received from his superior officer, 
Colonel Peacocke, and prematurely attacked the Fenians. All 
went well until, upon a false alarm of an attack by cavalry, the 
men were ordered to form squares. This, at once, exposed 
them to a severe fire from the enemy, confusion ensued, 
followed by a retreat from the field with the loss of about 
forty killed and wounded. The Fenians did not follow up 
their advantage, and, being hard pressed by other forces, 
escaped as best they could to the American side of the river. 
Many were killed and wounded, and a large number taken 
prisoners. As there were many thousands ready to follow 
the first comers, the matter might have been very much more 
serious had the leaders not so soon lost heart. Threatening 
demonstrations continued to be made for some time, but 
finally the band were dispersed by the United States Govern- 
ment providing transport to their homes. A most interesting 
account of the raid, with a detailed description of the move- 
ments of the troops, and the engagements that took place, 
was written by Colonel (then Major) George T. Denison of 
the Governor-General’s Body Guard. 

During the ensuing week thousands of Fenians congre- 
gated on the banks of the St. Lawrence, near Prescott and 
Cornwall, and on the borders of the Eastern Townships, but 
the remonstrances of the Canadian Government against the 
apathy of the American authorities in allowing so wanton an 
invasion of the soil of a friendly country, began to have effect 
and General Meade was ordered to seize the arms and 
ammunition which had been collected, and to send the raiders 
to their homes. Although the blood of Canada’s brave sons 
had been shed, some property destroyed, and heavy expense 
incurred by having, at one time, 40,000 of the militia under 
arms, the sacrifice was not in vain. It demonstrated to the 
world the ability and determination to defend our land at all 
costs and hazards, and gave a further impetus to the military 
spirit already awakened by the Trent affair. 

In Canada a feeling of uneasiness prevailed. It was said 
that the organization had taken deep root in our midst, and 

8 4 

The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

all sorts of rumours were afloat as to the aid and countenance 
likely to be accorded to their confederates from the other side 
of the border. Many prominent Irish Roman Catholics raised 
their voices to warn those of their countrymen who were 
suspected of leaning towards the cause of Fenianism, to 
strengthen those who, while loyal to the country of their birth, 
did not desire to see the land of their adoption the scene of 
bloody strife, and to dispel from the minds of the people at 
large the doubts which had arisen as to the loyalty of the Irish 
Catholics, as a whole. Amongst those were Dr. Connolly, the 
venerable Archbishop of Halifax, and the Honourable Thomas 
D’Arcy McGee. The former wrote to the Lieutenant-Governor 
of New Brunswick a lengthy letter from which we quote the 
following : 

“ From all the sources of information at my command, I 
am convinced, if the crisis come, that the whole Roman 
Catholic population in this country will yield to no other class 
in unwavering loyalty and the unflinching performance of duty 
in the day of trial. Apart from the allegiance which, as 
Churchmen, we owe to the constituted authorities, we have 
here everything to lose and nothing whatever to gain by a 
change, be it ever so luring in the distance. What can any 
Government give that we have not got ? We have prosperity,, 
law, order, peace, unmeasured liberty, the country secured 
against the foreign foe, trade and commerce protected all over 
the world at an expense one-sixth less per head than in the 
neighbouring republic, and a mere fraction as compared with 
the expenditure of any other country we know of. To 
exchange this condition with any other would be suicidal 
madness, and the thinking, reading portion of our people, the 
portion that have anything to lose, are aware of the fact. 
They, like myself, have visited the United States from time to 
time, and have had ample data to guide them to the same 
conclusion. Catholics, no doubt, enjoy many advantages in 
that country (and it is a blessing for millions they have such a 
country as a refuge), but after the experience of twenty-four 
years in British America, it is my deep conviction that Catho- 
lics, taking into account their numbers and opportunities, are 

Archbishop Connolly Condemns Fenianism. 85 

wealthier and happier — better Christians — and socially and 
politically more elevated here than there. 

“ In Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland 
and Prince Edward Island, there has been no period since the 
days of emancipation, at which Catholics have not possessed 
that influence in the community to which their numbers and 
position fairly entitled them. The Legislature, the Executive 
Council, and the Bench are as accessible to the Catholic as the 
Protestant, whilst men of vast wealth and the highest business 
and social standing in every city, from Montreal to St. John’s, 
Newfoundland, are to be found among our ranks. In all these 
particulars, according to our numbers, we stand as a hundred 
to one when compared with our fellow religionists in the 
neighbouring republic. 

“ Our people, therefore, have nothing to expect from change 
of any kind but increased taxation, diminished incomes, a 
decided fall in the social scale, the scathing contempt of 
their new rulers, as was ever the case in New England, and 
with these, perhaps, the horrors of a devastating war. The 
great . Government of the United States has nothing more 
tempting to offer ; and what have we to expect from the 
so-called Fenians, that pitiable knot of knaves and fools, 
who, unable to degrade themselves, are doing all in their 
power to add another Ballingarry to the history of Ireland, 
and to make the condition of our poor country more deplor- 
able than before. 

“ On the occasion of my recent visit to the United States 
many of these poor deluded people talked as flippantly and 
confidently of taking all British America in the course of this 
winter, and holding it, as if they already had the title deeds in 
their pockets. If they come on the strength of their own 
resources, it will be, indeed, a laughable scare ; and from what 
is now occurring in New York, we may easily foresee the 
glorious denouement. Two millions of Protestants and eigh- 
teen hundred thousand Catholics, who have mothers, wives, and 
daughters — happy homes and free altars, and a Government 
of their own choice — will meet them as they would the freebooter 
and assassin, with knife in hand on the trail of his victim. 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

From their success we have nothing to expect but bloodshed, 
rapine, and anarchy, and the overthrow of God’s religion — 
for all this is inscribed on their banners. Table-turning and 
rapperism the rhapsodies and extravagances of a moon-struck 
brain, are to take the place of the old religion in Ireland, 
and the priests are to be exterminated under the fostering 
aegis of the new Republic. All British America is to be 
occupied and declared a neutral territory, wherein Fenian 
armies and navies are to be recruited and built up. The 
power of England is to be crushed. Protestants, Catholic 
priests, and the upper classes of Catholics in Ireland are to 
be exterminated, and a new Republic is to be inaugurated 
with an ex-lunatic, Mr. O’Mahoney, at its head ! With such 
a programme, the Catholics of this country will assuredly 
accord to the Fenians, if they come, the warm reception they 
so richly deserve.” 

The Honourable Thomas D’Arcy McGee had, previously 
availed himself of the occasion of the annual concert for 
the benefit of the funds of St. Patrick’s Society, held at 
Montreal in January of the preceding year, to express his 
views in equally plain and unmistakeable language, and his 
remarks will always have a greater interest attached to them 
from the fact that this denunciation of P'enianism is believed 
to have caused that bitter feeling amongst the conspirators 
which led to his assassination three years later. After speak- 
ing in eloquent terms of Ireland, and the Catholic University, 
for which subscriptions were then being taken up, he said : — 

“ There is another subject which more immediately con- 
cerns ourselves in Montreal and in Canada, which has lately 
occupied a good deal of the attention of the press — 
I allude to the alleged spread of a seditious Irish society, 
originating at New York, and which has chosen to go 
behind the long Christian record of their ancestors to 
find in Pagan darkness and blindness the appropriate 
name of Fenians. (Laughter). A statement having been 
made the other day in the Toronto Globe , on the authority 
of its Montreal correspondent, that there were 1,500 of 
these contemporary pagans in Montreal, a statement made. 

D’Arcy McGee Denounces Fenian ism. 


I am sure, without intentional malice on the correspondents 
part, I felt bound, as I suppose you have seen, to deny abso- 
lutely that statement. (Cheers). My denial was not given in 
my own words, but the alleged fact was denied, and that was 
the main point. (Cheers). I now, in your presence, repeat 
that denial on behalf of the Irish Catholics of this city. I say 
there could not be fifty such scamps associated and meeting 
together, not to say 1,500, without your knowledge and mine, 
and I repeat absolutely that there is no such body amongst us, 
and that the contrary statements are deplorably untrue and 
unjust, and impolitic as well as unjust. (Cheers). I regret 
that papers of great circulation should lend themselves to the 
propagation of such statements, which have a direct tendency 
to foster and enhance the very evil they intend to combat. 
Already indecent and unauthorized searches have been made 
for concealed arms in the Catholic churches ; already, as in 
some of the townships of Bruce, the magistrates are very 
improperly, in my opinion, arming one class of the people 
against the other. (Hear, hear). What consequences of evil 
may flow from this step, should make any reasonable man 
shudder, and what is it all owing to ? Why, to these often 
invented, and always exaggerated newspaper reports. Observe 
the absurd figure Upper Canada is made to cut in all this 
business. The Protestant million are made to tremble before 
a fraction of a fraction, for if there are Fenians in that quarter 
of the world, I venture ro say they are as wholly insignificant 
in numbers as in every other respect. (Cheers). At the risk, 
however, of sharing the fate of all unmasked advisers, I would 
say to the Catholics of Upper Canada, in each locality, if 
there is any, the least proof that this foreign disease has 
seized on any, the least among you, establish at once, for your 
own sake, for the country’s sake, a cordon sanitaire around 
your people ; establish a committee which will purge your 
ranks of this political leprosy ; weed out and cast off those 
rotten members, who, without a single governmental grievance 
to complain of in Canada, would yet weaken and divide us in 
these days of danger and anxiety. (Cheers). Instead of 
symoathy for the punishment they are drawing upon them- 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

selves, there ought to be a general indignation at the perils 
such wretches would, if permitted to exist among us, draw 
upon the whole community, politically and religiously. How 
would any Catholic who hears me like to see the parish 
Church a stable, and St. Patrick’s a barrack ? How would 
our working men like to see our docks desolate, our canals 
closed, our new buildings arrested, ruin in our streets, and 
famine shivering among the ruins ? And this is what these 
wretched conspirators, if they had the power, would bring to 
pass, as surely as fire produces ashes from wood, or cold 
produces ice from water. (Cheers). I repeat here deliber- 
ately that I do not believe in the existence of any such 
organization in Lower Canada, certainly not in Montreal ; but 
that there are, or have been, emissaries from the United States 
among us, for the purpose of establishing it, has been so often 
and so confidently stated, that what I have said on the general 
subject will, I hope, not be considered untimely or uncalled 
for.” (Hear, hear). 

These timely and patriotic utterances of men so influential, 
had a soothing effect upon the public mind, inasmuch as they 
indicated, that, while the organization had taken root in 
Canada, it was not so widespread as was generally supposed, 
and would be opposed by some of the most eminent Irish 
Roman Catholics in the country. 

On December 4th the following Delegates met in London 
to settle the details of the Act to give effect to the Union 
of the Provinces : — The Honourables John A. Macdonald, 
George E. Cartier, A. T. Galt, W. P. Howland, H. L. Lange- 
vin and Wm. McDougall, representing Canada ; the Honour- 
ables S. L. Tilley, P. Mitchell, R. D. Wilmot, C. Fisher and 
J. M. Johnston, representing New Brunswick ; and the Hon- 
ourables Chas. Tupper, W. A. Henry, J. W. Ritchie, A. G. 
Archibald and J. McCully, representing Nova Scotia. 

The Honourable John A. Macdonald was unanimously 
elected Chairman. 

For several weeks the Conference was engaged in pre- 
paring the new Constitution, and on February 7, 1867, the 
Bill, Confederating the Provinces, was introduced into the 

Birth of the Dominion of Canada. 


Imperial Government by Lord Carnarvon. It passed through 
the various stages in the House of Lords in less than three 
weeks and was brought down to the House of Commons 
without delay, where it was read a third time and finally 
passed, on March 8th. On March 28th it received the Royal 
assent and became one of the laws of the Empire. On May 
22nd, Her Majesty’s proclamation was issued, bringing the 
Dominion of Canada into existence on July 1, 1867. 

Through the young giant’s mighty limbs, that stretch from sea to sea, 
There runs a throb of conscious life — of waking energy. 

From Nova Scotia’s misty coast to far Columbia’s shore, 

She wakes — a band of scattered homes and colonies no more, 

But a young nation, with her life full beating in her breast, 

A noble future in her eyes — the Britain of the West. 

Hers be the noble task to fill the yet untrodden plains 
With fruitful many-sided life that courses through her veins ; 

The English honour, nerve and pluck — the Scotchman’s love of right— 7 
The grace and courtesy of France — the Irish fancy bright — 

The Saxon’s faithful love of home, and home’s affections blest ; 

And, chief of all, our holy faith — of all our treasures best. 

A people poor in pomp and state, but rich in noble deeds, 

Holding that righteousness exalts the people that it leads ; 

As yet the waxen mould is soft, the opening page is fair, 

It rests with those who rule us now, to leave their impress there ; 

The stamp of true nobility, high honour, stainless truth ; 

The earnest quest of noble ends ; the generous heart of youth ; 

The love of country, soaring far above dull party strife ; 

The love of learning, art and song — the crowning grace of life ; 

The love of science, roaming far through nature’s hidden ways ; 

The love and fear of Nature’s God — a nation’s highest praise ; 

So, in the long hereafter, this Canada shall be 
The worthy heir of British power and British liberty. 

— Fidelis. 



Sir John A. Macdonald the first Premier of the Dominion — List of Ministers — 
Reform Convention — The policy of the party — The position of the Reform 
members of the Ministry — General election — Meeting of first Dominion 
Parliament, November 7, 1867 — The Intercolonial Railway — North-West 
Resolutions — Assassination of Mr. McGee — Pacification of Nova Scotia 
— Mr. Howe enters the Ministry — Departure of Lord Monck and arrival of 
Lord Lisgar — Second session of Parliament April 15, 1869 — Mr. McKen- 
zie’s resolutions on Intercolonial Railway — “Better terms” for Nova 
Scotia — Reconstruction of Cabinet — Red River troubles — Third session of 
Parliament February 15, 1870 — The commercial policy of the Opposition — 
A Zollvereign with the United States advocated — Sir John Macdonald’s 
opposition — Honourable Charles Tupper enters the Cabinet — Fourth 
session of Parliament February 15, 1871 — British Columbia resolutions — 
The Joint High Commission — Honourable Alexander Campbell’s mission 
to England — Official correspondence — Names of Commissioners — Sir A. 
T. Galt’s resolutions — The Globe's article thereon — Sir John Macdonald’s 
difficult position. 

T HE Honourable John A. Macdonald was called upon by 
Lord Monck to form the first Cabinet of the new Con- 
federacy. He accepted the task and succeeded in gathering 
together probably the ablest Cabinet that Canada has ever 
seen. In making his selections he announced his policy as 
follows: “ I desire to bring to my aid in the new Government 
those men, irrespective of party, who represent the majorities 
in the different provinces of the Union. I do not want it to 
be felt by any section of the country that they have no repre- 
sentative in the Cabinet, and no influence in the Government. 
And as there are now no issues to divide parties, and as 
all that is required is to have in the Government the men who 
are best adapted to put the new machinery in motion, I desire 
to ask those to join me who have the confidence, and who 
represent the majorities in the various sections of those who 
were in favour of the adoption of this system of Government 
and who wish to see it satisfactorily carried out.” The first 
Administration of the Dominion of Canada consisted of : 

Hon. John A. Macdonald, Premier and Minister of Justice. 

Hon. George E. Cartier, Minister of Militia. 

Hon. Alexander Campbell, Postmaster-General. 

Hon. A. T. Galt, Minister of Finance. 


First Dominion Cabinet. 


Hon. S. L. Tilley, Minister of Customs. 

Hon. A. J. Fergusson-Blair, President of the Council. 

Hon. H. L. Langevin, Secretary of State. 

Hon. W. P. Howland, Minister of Inland Revenue. 

Hon. Peter Mitchell, Minister of Marine and Fisheries. 

Hon. A. G. Archibald, Secretary of State for the Provinces. 

Hon. Edward Kenny, Receiver-General. 

Hon. William McDougall, Minister of Public Works. 

Hon. J. C. Chapais, Minister of Agriculture. 

As the Ministry was composed of about equal numbers of 
Conservatives and Reformers, it was essentially a coalition 
Government and as such was opposed by that branch of the 
Reform party under the leadership of the Honourable George 

On June 27, 1867, the Reform Convention met in Toronto, 
Mr. William Patrick, of Prescott, being chairman. The policy 
of the party was embodied in fifteen resolutions. These 
“ accepted the new Constitution about to be inaugurated, with 
a determination to work it loyally and patiently, and to pro- 
vide such amendments as experience from year to year may 
prove to be expedient,” but condemned the composition of the 
Ministry in the following resolution. 

“ Resolved , — That coalitions of opposing political parties, 
for ordinary administrative purposes, inevitably result in the 
abandonment of principle by one or both parties to the com- 
pact, the lowering of public morality, lavish public expenditure 
and widespread corruption ; that the coalition of 1864 could 
only be justified on the ground of imperious necessity, as the 
only available mode of obtaining just representation for the 
people of Upper Canada, and on the ground that the compact 
then made was for a specific measure and for a stipulated 
period and was to come to an end as soon as a measure was 
attained ; and while the Convention is thoroughly satisfied that 
the Reform party has acted in the best interests of the country 
by sustaining the Government until the Confederation mea- 
sure was secured, it deems it an imperative duty to declare 
that the temporary alliance between the Reform and Conser- 
vative parties should now cease, and that no Government will 
be satisfactory to the people of Upper Canada which is 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

formed and maintained by a coalition of public men holding 
opposite political principles.” 

In the speeches which were made on the resolutions the 
conduct of those Reform members from Upper Canada who 
had accepted portfolios in the Cabinet, was strongly 
denounced. Replies were made by the Honourables W. P. 
Howland and William Macdougall, who stated that they had 
accepted office because they considered that the great Liberal 
party of Upper Canada should be represented in the first 
Cabinet of the Dominion, that they considered it their duty to 
work together with their Liberal friends from the Maritime 
Provinces, who had laboured so hard and sacrificed so much to 
bring about the Union, and finally that they were willing to 
submit their conduct to the decision of the electors of the 

Many reasons may be adduced to prove that these gentle- 
men were right in the course which they pursued. Both 
parties had united upon a common principle — that of estab- 
lishing the new Constitution upon a firm basis ; of properly 
adjusting all its parts ; and setting in motion the whole 
machinery. There was no occasion for a party fight ; there 
were no grievances to redress ; no old mismanagement to 
reform. No benefit could be derived from a quarrel ; no good 
end could be subserved. No thirteen men could have come 
together for a nobler or more worthy purpose than that which 
induced Reformers and Conservatives to unite in the first 
Government of the Dominion of Canada, to establish the new 
Constitution which had been obtained by the sinking of party 
differences. Without a junction of parties in 1864, Confedera- 
tion could not have been accomplished. 'Both parties were 
entitled to the honour of so splendid a result, and both had a 
right to share the triumphs and enjoy the rewards of so splen- 
did an achievement. Mr. Brown had joined with these men 
on a former occasion ; had worked with them ; had participated 
in the festivities and honours enjoyed by them when delegates 
to England, and had praised them, both in public and in 
private, for the honourable manner in which they had acted 
with him in solving the problem of the Union. They were not 


Q.C., LL.D., P.C. K.C.M.G., Q.C., P.C. 

Secretary of State. Minister of Militi and Defence, 

Lord Monck as Governor-General. 


worse now than they were then, and to denounce members of 
his party for doing in 1867 what he had done in 1864 was 
most unreasonable. 

The new Constitution had to be inaugurated under 
peculiar conditions, and harmony and union of parties were 
especially necessary to give it due eclat and effect ; party 
issues, which formerly existed, had been settled ; the object 
contemplated was not a party or sectional one, but national, 
and one in which all parties were interested. The men called 
upon to inaugurate the new order of things were peculiarly 
fitted for the task, because they had prepared it ; and a better 
guarantee was afforded to the country at large of the safety of 
the trust, when commended to the care of a coalition Govern- 
ment, than if in the hands of one which was strictly party. 
For these and other reasons which might be adduced, every 
reasonable man felt that the Administration was entitled to 
fair play, and to be judged by its policy and its acts, and that 
those Upper Canadian Reformers who gave it support and 
joined it as members, acted in a proper, patriotic and com- 
mendable manner. 

Lord Monck was sworn in as Governor-General of the 
Dominion in the forenoon of July 1, 1867, and immediately 
announced that he had received Her Majesty’s command to 
confer the title of K. C. B. on the Honourable John A. Mac- 
donald, and the title of C. B. on the Honourables G. E. Cartier, 
S. L. Tilley, A. T. Galt, Charles Tupper, W. P. Howland, and 
William Macdougall. 

Early in August writs for a new election were issued and 
preparations were made for a keen contest. Mr. Brown con- 
tested South Ontario with Mr. T. N. Gibbs, but was defeated 
by seventy-one votes. The Province of Ontario elected sixty- 
seven Ministerial supporters, and fifteen members of the Oppo- 
sition. In the Province of Quebec all the constituencies but 
twelve were carried by the Government. In New Brunswick 
the Opposition only secured three seats. In Nova Scotia, 
however, Dr. Tupper was the only Government supporter who 
was returned. 

The first Dominion Parliament opened on November 7th, 

9 6 

The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

when the Honourable Joseph Cauchon was appointed Speaker 
of the Senate, and the Honourable James Cockburn was elected 
Speaker of the House of Commons. The Speech from the 
Throne foreshadowed a large amount of legislation respecting 
the currency, tariff, excise, and postal laws, the public works, 
management of the militia, care of the Indians, assimilation of 
the criminal laws, insolvency, the development of the fisheries, 
the building of the Intercolonial railway, etc. When the Bill 
for the construction of this railway was brought up, Mr. Dorion 
moved in amendment that the route should not be determined 
on without the consent of Parliament, which was rejected by a 
vote of 35 to 83, which may be taken as a fair indication of 
the relative strength of the Opposition and the Government. 
One of the most important events of the session was the 
adoption of a series of resolutions introduced by the Honour- 
able Wm. Macdougall, with regard to the North-West, setting 
forth the reasons why Her Majesty should be graciously 
pleased to unite that country with Canada, and asking that 
authority should be granted to the Dominion Parliament to 
legislate on the subject. Mr. Macdougall’s speech was able 
and exhaustive, the resolutions were all adopted, and a select 
committee appointed to draw up an address embodying 

Parliament adjourned from December 21, 1867, to March 
12, 1868. After being in session about three weeks the 
country was horror-stricken by the news of the assassination of 
the Honourable Thomas D’Arcy McGee. He had attended 
the House of Commons on the night of April 6th and made an 
eloquent speech on the subject of Dr. Tupper’s mission to 
England. He left the Parliament Buildings about 2.30 on the 
morning of the 7th, accompanied by Mr. R. Macfarlane, M.P., 
and some messengers. They parted at the corner of Sparks 
and Metcalfe streets, he proceeding westward, along the former 
thoroughfare, to his boarding house. A few minutes later 
a son of Mrs. Trotter — the boarding-house keeper — who was 
a page in the House, and who was returning home after his 
duties, heard a pistol shot and, on arriving at his mother’s 
door, found Mr. McGee lying dead, having been killed by a 

Assassination of D’Arcy McGee. 


bullet which had struck the base of the skull in rear and 
passed through his mouth, carrying away several teeth. The 
cowardly murder was at once attributed to the Fenian 
brotherhood, in revenge for his outspoken denunciations of 
their unpatriotic schemes, and the most strenuous efforts were 
made to bring the assassin to justice. After a time the 
evidence pointed to Patrick James Whelan, a journeyman 
tailor, as the guilty one. He was accordingly arrested, tried, 
found guilty and hanged in the gaol at Ottawa on October 
II, 1869. 

Mr. McGee’s tragic death caused the greatest sorrow to 
the whole country. He was a man beloved and esteemed 
for his qualities of head and heart and truly did Sir John 
Macdonald say of him “ He might have lived a long and 
respected life had he chosen the easy path of popularity 
rather than the stern one of duty. He has lived a short life, 
respected and beloved, and has died a heroic death, a martyr 
to the cause of his country.” 

The Honourable Thomas D’Arcy McGee was known as 
a litterateur before he became a Canadian politician. He was 
an orator who had the art of making trifles graceful and 
brilliant, not that his speeches were wanting in the more 
sterling qualities of original thought and sound argument, 
but the utterance added grace and beauty to the matter and 
made it more pleasant to hear than to read. His countrymen 
were justly proud of his talents and regarded him as their 
especial representative. Genial, warm-hearted and impulsive, 
he had a host of friends amongst all classes of the population. 
He had represented Montreal West since 1857 and was 
several times elected by acclamation. He was descended 
from an old Ulster family and was born at Carlingford, 
County of Louth, Ireland, April 13, 1825, and educated at 
Wexford. Besides contributing largely to magazine literature 
in the United Kingdom and America, he had written the 
following works : — “ Lives of Irish writers of the Seventh 
Century,” “Life of Art,” “ Irish settlers in America,” “ Catholic 
history of America,” “ History of the Reformation in Ireland,” 

“ Canadian Ballads,” and a “ Popular history of Ireland.” 



The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

Out of respect for Mr. McGee’s memory, Parliament 
adjourned until April 14th. On re-assembling, the business 
was pushed through with all speed, and prorogation took 
place on May 22nd. 

During the recess the attention of the Government was 
devoted to the pacification of Nova Scotia. Sir John Mac- 
donald and some of his colleagues went to Halifax in August, 
but no immediate results followed. In October he again 
pressed the matter in a letter to Mr. Howe, expressing the 
willingness of the Government to consider all questions in 
a fair and equitable spirit, and offering Mr. Howe a seat in 
the Cabinet. Mr. Howe replied that he would still prefer 
a repeal of the Union Act but as there seemed little hope 
of that, he was disposed to enter into negotiations for better 
terms for his Province. The result was that documents were 
laid before the Ministry embodying the claims of Nova Scotia 
for better terms. These were carefully considered and an 
elaborate report thereon, drawn up by the Honourable John 
Rose, who had become Minister of Finance by the resigna- 
tion of the Honourable A. T. Galt. He considered that it 
had been satisfactorily proved that the terms of Union were 
less favourable to Nova Scotia than to the other Provinces 
and, therefore, the Province was entitled to better terms. 
These terms having been embodied in an Order in Council 
and it having been agreed that a Bill embodying them should 
be submitted to Parliament, Mr. Howe abandoned all further 
opposition and entered the Cabinet as President of the Coun- 
cil, in the place of the Honourable Fergusson-Blair, deceased. 

Lord Monck sailed from Quebec on December 14th and 
was succeeded by Sir John Young, who arrived at Ottawa 
on November 27th and was sworn in on December 1st. 

The second session was opened on April 15, 1869. The 
date was unusually late, but was necessitated by the absence 
in England of Sir George Cartier and Honourable Wm. Mac- 
dougall, who were arranging for the transfer to the Dominion 
of the North-West Territory, and also by a change in the 
manner of keeping the Public Accounts, consequent on Con- 

Intercolonial Railway Debate. 


The session only lasted until June 23rd, but was produc- 
tive of many interesting debates. One of these referred to 
the Intercolonial Railway, and Mr. Mackenzie expressed the 
views of the Opposition in the following resolutions : — 

“ That in the construction of the Intercolonial Railway 
it is of the highest importance for commercial and economical 
reasons, to have the shortest and cheapest line selected, which, 
in addition to the main object, will afford access to the best 
and nearest part on the Bay of Fundy. 

“ That the Bay of Chaleurs route selected by the Govern- 
ment is not one which will best promote the commercial 
interests of the Dominion, or best secure the settlement of the 
remote portions of the provinces through which the road will 
pass, and that, while it gives the smallest commercial 
advantage, it will entail the largest expenditure in its 
construction, and afterwards in its maintenance and working 

“ That in view of the serious effect to the finances of the 
Dominion, and the permanent and continuous loss to the 
commerce of the country, consequent on the adoption of a 
long and expensive route to the sea, it is desirable not to 
proceed with work on those portions of the line not common to 
the central or southern routes, with a view to the adoption of 
a route which will give access to the shortest and cheapest 
line, without interfering with the distance to Halifax as the 
ultimate terminus.” 

Mr. R. J. Cartwright moved an amendment setting forth 
the provisions of the Imperial and Dominion Acts, and 
concluding as follows : 

“ That under these circumstances the House considers that 
any discussion as to the route of the Intercolonial Railway 
would not answer any good purpose, and would greatly 
prejudice the credit of the Dominion at home and abroad.” 

The amendment was seconded by the Honourable Dr. 
Tupper. Both mover and seconder made very able speeches, 
pointing out that, in the negotiations with the Imperial Gov- 
ernment, it had always been agreed that the latter should 
select the route. They had guaranteed the loan to build the 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

line upon this express condition, and it would now be a 
breach of faith to pass Mr. Mackenzie’s motion. The House 
concurred in this view, and the amendment was carried by a 
vote of 1 14 to 28. 

When Mr. Howe made his motion, on June nth, to go 
into committee on the resolutions fixing the amount at which 
the debt of Nova Scotia was to be taken, and granting an 
increased subsidy, Mr. Blake took exception to them as being 
unconstitutional, and moved an amendment to the effect that 
the liabilities of Canada and each province were settled by 
the British North American Act, that the Parliament of 
Canada could not change such basis of settlement, that the 
unauthorized assumption of such power would be injurious to 
the union, and therefore it was inexpedient to go into com- 
mittee on the resolutions. A long debate ensued, in which 
part was taken by Messrs. Mackenzie, J. H. Cameron, Harri- 
son, Tupper, Gray, Smith, Cartier, and Howe. On a vote 
being taken, the amendment was lost by 57 to 96. Mr. E. B. 
Wood offered another amendment declaring that it was inex- 
pedient to disturb the financial arrangements with Nova 
Scotia, unless the other provinces were granted a corres- 
ponding advantage, which also was lost, the vote standing 46 
to 88. Mr. Holton moved another amendment requiring the 
consent of all the other provinces to the arrangement, which 
was also lost on division by a vote of 52 to 97. 

After prorogation Mr. Rose visited Washington with 
reference to a new Reciprocity Treaty, but was unsuccessful, 
and a short time afterwards acquired an interest in a banking 
concern, and sailed for England as the representative of the 
firm of Morton, Rose & Co. The position of Finance Minis- 
ter was tendered to Sir A. T. Galt, but declined. It was then 
offered to Sir Francis Hincks, who accepted. He had been 
absent from Canada for fourteen years, during which period he 
had acted as Governor of Barbadoes and the Windward 
Islands, and as Governor of British Guiana. He offered 
himself for his old constituency, North Renfrew, and was 
elected by a majority of 120 over Mr. Findlay. A re-con- 
struction of the Cabinet took place, some new men being 

The Re-constructed Cabinet. 


brought in, and some of the old Ministers changing portfolios. 
As re-constructed, the Ministry stood as follows : 

Sir John A. Macdonald, Premier and Minister of Justice. 

Sir George E. Cartier, Minister of Militia. 

Sir Francis Hincks, Minister of Finance. 

Sir Edward Kenny, President of Privy Council. 

Hon. S. L. Tilley, Minister of Customs. 

Hon. Hector L. Langevin, Minister of Public Works. 

Hon. Alexander Morris, Minister of Inland Revenue. 

Hon. Joseph Howe, Secretary of Statfe for the Provinces. 

Hon. Peter Mitchell, Minister of Marine and Fisheries. 

Hon. Alexander Campbell, Postmaster-General. 

Hon. Christopher Dunkin, Minister of Agriculture. 

Hon. J. C. Chapais, Receiver-General. 

Hon. J. C. Aikins, Secretary of State and Registrar-General. 

The Honourable William Macdougall resigned his place 
in the Administration to accept the position of Lieutenant- 
Governor of the North-West Territories, which had been 
acquired by the purchase of the rights of the Hudson’s Bay 
Company, for the sum of ,£300,000. He arrived at Pembina 
on October 30th, but was prevented by an armed party of 
half-breeds from entering the country, and was obliged to 
return. The insurgents formed a provisional government of 
which Louis Riel was President, and proceeded to draw up a 
Bill of Rights. Many of those who disapproved of their 
conduct were cast into prison, and one of them, Thomas Scott, 
was murdered in the most cold-blooded and brutal manner. 
To quiet the fears of the half-breeds, and to inspire confidence 
as to the fairness of the treatment likely to be received from 
the Dominion Government, Bishop Tache was telegraphed to 
return from Rome. He did so, and left Ottawa on February 
16, 1870, being empowered to invite delegates to Ottawa, and 
to offer amnesty for past offences. The arrival of a body of 
troops some months later under Colonel Wosley put an end 
to the insurrection, and the demands of the half-breeds were 
presented by delegates to the Dominion Government. 

The third session of Parliament opened on February 1 5, 
1870. The debate on the Address lasted for six days, and 
the whole policy of the Government was reviewed and critic- 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

ized. Sir A. T. Galt announced his inability to give the 
Government any further support, and Sir Francis Hincks was 
made the subject of a general attack, during which his past 
political life was freely commented upon. Mr. Macdougall 
also charged Mr. Howe with not having given him a proper 
idea of the state of affairs at Fort Garry, and with having 
failed to use his influence, during his recent visit to the Red 
River country, in a proper manner. The Address was, 
however, carried without any amendment being offered. 

Mr. L. S. Huntingdon, a leading member of the Opposi- 
tion, made a hot attack on the commercial policy of the 
Government, and moved the following resolutions in favour of 
freer intercourse with the United States. 

“ That an Address be presented, representing that the 
increasing population and production of this Dominion 
demand more extended markets, and a more unrestricted 
interchange of commodities with other countries. 

“ That a continental system of free commercial inter- 
course, bringing under one general customs union with this 
Dominion, countries chiefly interested in its trade, would lead 
to the expansion of our commerce, and develop our resources 
and our products. 

“ That such a system should place in a position of com- 
mercial equality and reciprocity all countries becoming parties 

“ That a great advantage would result from placing the 
Government of the Dominion in direct communication with 
the several states which might be willing to negotiate for such 
a customs’ union. 

“ That it is expedient to obtain from the Imperial Govern- 
ment all necessary powers to enable the Government of the 
Dominion to enter into direct communication with such 
foreign states as would be disposed, upon terms advantageous 
to Canada, to negotiate for such commercial regulations. 

“ That in all cases treaties enacting such proposed 
customs, union should be submitted to the approval of Her 

Mr. Huntingdon supported his resolutions in the strongest 

Resolutions in Favour of a Zollvereign. 103 

possible manner, and was backed up by the Honourable A. A. 
Dorion, who declared himself warmly in favour of the proposed 
zollvereign, and argued that it did not involve discriminating 
duties against Great Britain. He also urged that permission 
should be obtained from the Imperial Government to negotiate 
our own treaties. 

Sir John Macdonald vigorously opposed the resolutions, 
urging that the course advocated really meant a separation 
from the mother country, and that it was much better for 
Canada to work in harmony with Great Britain than to 
attempt to act for herself, and sue in forma pauperis for 
commercial treaties with other countries. He concluded an 
able and patriotic speech by moving in amendment 

“That this House, while desirous of obtaining for this 
Dominion the freest access to the markets of the world, and 
thus augmenting its external prosperity, is satisfied that that 
object can best be obtained by the concurrent action of the 
Imperial and Canadian Governments. 

“ That any attempt to enter into treaties with foreign 
powers, without the strongest direct support of the mother 
country as a principal party, must fail, and that a customs’ 
union with the United States, now so heavily taxed, would be 
unfair to the Empire, and injurious to the Dominion, and 
would weaken the ties now happily existing between them.” 

Many other speeches were made, but it was quite evident 
the House was in harmony with Sir John’s views against 
union with the United States or separation from the Empire, 
and his amendment was carried by a vote of 100 to 58. 

After passing many important measures, amongst which 
were the Manitoba, Banking, and Tariff Acts, Parliament 
was prorogued on May 12th. 

On June 21st Honourable Charles Tupper, C. B., entered 
the Cabinet as successor to Sir Edward Kenny appointed 
Administrator of the Province of Nova Scotia. On appealing 
to his constituents he was re-elected by acclamation. 

On October 8th, Sir John Young was raised to the peerage 
under the title of Baron Lisgar. 

The fourth session of the Dominion Parliament opened on 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

January 15, 1871. Amongst the subjects referred to in the 
Speech from the Throne were two very important ones, 
namely the reception of British Columbia into the Confedera- 
tion, and the appointment of a Joint High Commission to 
consider the question of the fisheries and other matters. 

Sir George E. Cartier introduced the resolutions, with 
respect to the former, and explained the policy of the Govern- 
ment. He said that the terms agreed to were in the nature of 
a treaty, and did not admit of alteration. They must be 
accepted or rejected as a whole. The clause which caused 
most debate was that which referred to the Pacific Railway 
and, on this point, he explained the policy of the Administra- 
tion to be, to build the road by the aid of private companies, to 
whom would be granted a certain amount of land and, perhaps, 
a small money subsidy. He estimated the length of the road 
at 2,500 miles, and the land it was proposed to give would 
amount to about 64,000,000 acres. He forcibly commended 
the scheme to the consideration of the House, urging that 
union with British Columbia would give Canada a maritime 
position that, in time, would be second only to that of 
England. He was ably and eloquently supported by Mr. 
(now Sir Leonard) Tilley, Dr. (now Sir James) Grant, Mr. 
Masson, Colonel Gray, Sir Francis Plincks and others. 

Mr. Mackenzie, on the part of the Opposition, said that “he 
looked upon the acquisition of British Columbia as a political 
necessity, but thought two much haste ought not to be made 
or mistakes would occur. He differed entirely with the 
Government on their railway policy. He did not think that 
the right way to build the railway was to give away all the 
best lands. These should be kept as free grants for immi- 
grants. He was totally opposed to undertaking such an 
immense burden as guaranteeing to build this gigantic rail- 
way in ten years. He did not consider it capable of accom- 
plishment, and it was improper to delude the people of British 
Columbia with the idea that it was.” He concluded by moving 
in amendment : 

“ That all the words after ‘ that ’ be struck out, and the fol- 
lowing inserted, ‘ the proposed terms of union with British 

Opposition ot the Pacific Railway. 


Columbia pledge the Dominion to commence within two 
years, and complete within ten years the Pacific Railway, the 
route for which has not been surveyed or its expenses calcu- 
lated. The said terms also pledge the Government of Canada 
to a yearly payment to British Columbia of the sum of 
$100,000 in perpetuity, equal to a capital sum of $2,000,000, for 
the cession of a tract of waste land on the route of the Pacific 
Railway, to aid its construction, which British Columbia ought 
to cede without charge, in like manner as the iands of Canada 
are proposed to be ceded for the same purpose. The House 
is of opinion that Canada should not be pledged to do more 
than proceed at once with the necessary surveys, and, after the 
route is determined, to prosecute the work at as early a period 
as the state of the finances will justify.” 

Mr. Jones (Halifax) moved in amendment to the amend- 
ment : 

“ That the following words be added, ‘ The proposed 
engagement respecting the said Pacific Railway would, in 
the opinion of the House, press too heavily on the resources 
of Canada.’ ” 

This was lost by a vote of 63 to 98. ' 

Mr. Ross (Dundas) then moved in amendment : 

“ That, in the opinion of this House, the further considera- 
tion of the question be postponed for the present session of 
Parliament, in order that greater and more careful considera- 
tion may be given to a question of such magnitude and impor- 
tance to the people of this Dominion.” 

This also failed to carry, the vote standing 75 to 85. 

The vote was then taken on Mr. Mackenzie’s amendment 
which was defeated by a vote of 67 to 94. 

Honourable Mr. Dorion then moved in amendment : 

“ That it be resolved, in view of the engagements already 
entered into since Confederation, and the large expenditure 
urgently required for canal and railway purposes, this House 
would not be justified in imposing upon the people of this 
Dominion the enormous burdens required to construct within 
ten years a railway to the Pacific, as proposed by the resolu- 
tions submitted to the House.” 

1 06 

The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

This was also lost on division, the vote standing 70 to 91. 
The main motion was then carried on the same division. 

On the motion for the second reading of the Address, in 
accordance with the resolutions, Mr. Mackenzie offered 
another amendment, as follows : 

“ That this House, while willing to give its best considera- 
tion to any reasonable terms of union with British Columbia, 
is of opinion that the terms embodied in the Address are so 
unreasonable and so unjust to Canada, that this House should 
not agree thereto.” 

After considerable further debate the amendment was lost 
by a vote of 68 to 86. 

The Joint High Commission was the result of the action of 
the Canadian Ministry in 1870. The Fenian raids, which 
were apparently encouraged by the people of the United 
States, and the continual encroachments of their fishermen 
upon Canadian waters, gave rise to a feeling of dissatisfaction 
and irritation in Canada, g.nd it was felt that something 
definite should be done about it. Accordingly, on June 9th of 
that year, an Order-in-Council was passed, appointing the 
Honourable Alexander Campbell a Commissioner to proceed 
to England and consult with the Imperial Government res- 
pecting “ the proposed withdrawal of troops from Canada ; the 
question of fortifications ; the recent invasions of Canadian 
territory by citizens of the United States, and the previous 
threats and hostile preparations which compelled the Govern- 
ment to call out the militia, and to obtain the consent of Par- 
liament to the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act ; the 
systematic trespasses on Canadian fishing grounds by United 
States fishermen, and the unsettled question as to the limits 
within which foreigners can fish under the Treaty of 1818.” 

Mr. Campbell succeeded in arriving at an understanding 
with Lord Kimberley, the Colonial Secretary, the result of 
which was that on January 26, 1871, Sir Edward Thornton, 
British Minister at Washington, addressed a letter to the 
Honourable Hamilton Fish, United States Secretary of State, 
proposing the appointment of a Joint High Commission to 
“ treat and discuss the mode of settling the different questions 

The Joint High Commission. 


which have arisen out of the fisheries, as well as all those 
which affect the relations of the United States towards Her 
Majesty’s possessions in North America.” 

Mr. Fish replied “ that the President approved of the pro- 
posal, but was of opinion that the removal of the differences 
which arose during the rebellion in the United States, and 
which have existed since then, growing out of the acts com- 
mitted by the several armed vessels which have given rise to 
the claims generaly known as the ‘ Alabama claims,’ will also 
be essential to the restoration of cordial and amicable relations 
between the two Governments, and he therefore proposed 
that this subject should also be treated by the Commission.” 
This was accepted “ provided that all other claims, both of 
British subjects and citizens of the United States, arising out 
of acts committed during the recent civil war in this country 
are similarly referred to the same Commission.” 

This being agreed to, both sides proceeded at once to 
appoint Commissioners. Those who represented Great Brit- 
ain were Earl de Grey and Ripon, President of the Privy 
Council ; Sir Stafford Northcote, M.P., Sir Edward Thornton, 
British Minister at Washington; Sir John A. Macdonald, 
Premier of Canada; and Bernard Montague, Esq., Professor 
of International Law in the University of Oxford. 

The American Commissioners were Messrs. Hamilton 
Fish, Secretary of State; Robert C. Schenck, United States 
Minister to Great Britain ; Samuel Nelson, Judge of the 
United States Supreme Court ; Ex-Judge E. R. Hoar, of 
Massachusetts, and George H. Williams, of Oregon. 

Lord Tenterden acted as secretary to the British Commis- 
sioners, and Mr. J. C. Bancroft Davis as secretary to the 
Americans. The Commission was appointed after the Domin- 
ion Parliament had met, and Sir A. T. Galt, with, no doubt, 
the best intentions, thought it advisable to place on record the 
views of the House as to the stand which should be taken at 
the Conference, and accordingly moved a series of resolutions 
as to the claims of Canada. Finding that they were consid- 
ered inopportune he withdrew them, but they brought from 
the Globe a manly editorial of which the following is an extract: 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

“ The spirit and temper of the people of Canada, with 
respect to their fisheries, is perfectly well understood. The 
action taken by the Government last year was a direct recog- 
nition of the popular sentiment. A formal declaration on 
that point, therefore, by Parliament, is altogether supero- 
gatory, and to suggest by implication that any proposal 
will be made to alter or diminish the just rights of the Domin- 
ion, without our consent, is even more objectionable. We 
certainly fail to see the propriety of imputing to Grea^ Britain 
an intention to sacrifice Canada, in any respect, to a desire for 
peace and friendly relations with the United States. We look 
upon the interests of Great Britain and Canada as identical 
and inseparable. We believe that our strength and safety 
consist in throwing upon Great Britain, and making her 
ministers feel the sole responsibility of ensuring the harmony 
of our relations with, and protecting our rights against, foreign 
powers. To hint broadly, and in the face of our watchful and 
greedy neighbour, that Great Britain may barter away the 
rights of her dependency, is surely a very strange mode of 
rendering support to Great Britain’s or Canada’s representa- 
tives on the Commission. Any eagerness to offer terms is 
pretty certain to encourage the Americans by whatever means 
they possess to secure what they desire without making any 
return for it. The Commission, as we understand it, is to act 
merely as a deliberative body. It will be time enough for us 
to protest when we find that its deliberations have resulted in 
any decision likely to compromise our national rights — an 
event not at all likely to arise. Public men who have been 
connected for years with the politics of this country, and who 
have had experience of the questions that have arisen between 
Canada and the United States, should know the temper of the 
Americans better than to suppose that their Commissioners 
are at all more likely to recognize the justice of the position 
assumed by Canada because we publicly register a string of 
inuendoes suggestive of our own weakness and a want of 
confidence in the Imperial Government.” 

The first meeting of the Commission was held February 
27, 1881, and was adjourned from time to time until May 8th, 

First Joint High Commission. 


when the Treaty of Washington was signed. The proceedings 
at these meetings, the decisions arrived at and the reasons 
therefor, the stand taken by Canada’s representatives, and the 
provisions of the treaty itself, are so full and so exhaustively 
given in the speech made by Sir John Macdonald, in intro- 
ducing the Bill to give effect to the treaty, on May 3, 1872, 
that we will quote it in full as the best possible explanation 
that can be given. 

Sir John’s position on the Commission was a most difficult 
one. The British members thought he took too strong a 
stand for Canadian interests, while the Reform party of 
Canada charged him with having sacrificed them. A careful 
perusal of his speech, which was a masterpiece of exposition, 
clear, logical and concise, will demonstrate that he acted in 
accordance with one central idea : that the full right of 
Canada to the in-shore fisheries should be acknowledged by 
England and that, whatever the Joint High Commission might 
decide, regarding them, such decision should be of no effect 
unless ratified by the Canadian Parliament. He took the 
precaution not to accept the appointment until an explicit 
declaration of our right to the in-shore fisheries had been given 
by the Imperial Parliament. And though he could not have 
refused to sign any treaty that might have been made, if he 
continued a member of the Commission to the last, he would 
have sent in his resignation as a member of that body, if he 
had not been able to exact the condition that the fishing 
articles should depend for their ratification on the Parliament 
of Canada. Carrying both these points, he secured the full 
admission of our rights of property and the right of our 
Parliament to guard them. Although the question was fiercely 
fought out in both branches of the Legislature, and his con- 
duct strongly denounced by his opponents, time has fully 
justified the wisdom of his conduct, and those who opposed 
him then will now endorse his actions in Canada’s interest. 


Sir John Macdonald’s speech in introducing the Bill to carry into effect the 
provisions of the Washington Treaty, May 3, 1872 — The clauses of which 
the Bill was composed — Possible objections to mode of introduction consid- 
ered — The power of the House to accept or reject — Reference to the Reci- 
procity of 1854 — Rights of Canada to the in-shore fisheries — Liability of 
the United States for the Fenian raids — The Alabama Claims — Sir John 
Macdonald’s appointment — Recognition of Canada’s right to the inshore 
fisheries — The difficulties of Sir John’s position — The Canadian Govern- 
ment insists upon its right to control the fisheries — Proceedings of the 
Commission — Reciprocity offered in coal, salt, fish, and lumber — But with- 
drawn because Canadian Parliament had made them free — Criticisms 
replied to — The Lake and Pacific fisheries reserved — Attitude of Amer- 
ican fishermen — Consequences of rejecting the treaty. 

U A /T R’ Speaker, I move for leave to bring in a Bill to carry 
1V1 into effect certain clauses of the treaty negotiated 
between the United States and Great Britain in 1871. The 
object of the Bill is stated in the title. It is to give validity, as 
far as Canada is concerned, to the treaty which was framed last 
year in the manner so well known to the House and country. 
The Bill in itself, as I proposed to introduce it the other day, 
was simply a Bill to suspend those clauses of the Fishery Acts 
which prevent fishermen of the United States from fishing in 
the in-shore waters of Canada, such suspension to continue 
during the existence of the treaty. I confined it to that 
object at the time, because the question really before this 
House, was whether the fishery articles of the treaty should 
receive sanction of Parliament or not. As, however, a desire 
was expressed on the other side that I should enter into the 
subject fully on asking leave to bring in the Bill, and as, on 
examining the cognate Act, which has been laid before Con- 
gress at Washington, I find that all the subjects — even those 
subjects which do not require legislation — have been repeated 
in that Act, in order, one would suppose, to make the Act in 
the nature of a contract to be obligatory during the existence 
of the treaty, so that in good faith it could not be repealed 
during that time, I propose to follow the same course. 

“The Act I ask leave to bring in provides, in the first 
clause, for the suspension of the fishery laws of Canada, so far 
as they prevent citizens of the United States from fishing in 

Washington Treaty Speech. 


our inshore waters. The Bill also provides that, during the 
existence of the treaty, fish and fish oil (except fish of the 
inland lakes of the United States and the rivers emptying 
into those lakes, and fish preserved in oil), being the produce 
of the fisheries of the United States, shall be admitted into 
Canada free of duty. The third clause provides for the 
continuance of the bonding system during the twelve years, 
or longer period, provided by the treaty, and the fourth clause 
provides that the right of transhipment contained in the 30th 
clause of the treaty shall, in like manner, be secured to 
citizens of the United States during the existence of the 
treaty. The last clause of the Bill provides that it shall com€ 
into effect whenever, upon an Order-in-Council, a proclam- 
ation of the Governor-General is issued, giving effect to the 

“ In submitting the Act in this form, I am aware that 
objections might be taken to some of the clauses on the 
ground that, having relation to questions of trade and money, 
they should be commenced by resolution adopted in Com- 
mittee of the Whole. That objection does not apply to the 
whole of the Bill — to those clauses which suspend the action 
of our Fishery Act ; but it would affect, according to the gen- 
eral principle, the clause which provides that there shall be no 
duty on fish and fish oil, and also the clauses respecting the 
bonding system and transhipment. I do not, however, antici- 
pate that that objection will be taken, because in presenting 
the Bill in this form, I have followed the precedent established 
in 1854, when the measure relating to the Reciprocity Treaty 
was introduced in Parliament. It was then held that the 
Act, having been introduced as based upon a treaty which 
was submitted by a message from the Crown, became a 
matter of public and general policy, and ceased to be 
merely a matter of trade, and although those honourable 
gentlemen who interested themselves in parliamentary and 
political matters at that date will remember that the Act 
which was introduced by the Attorney-General for Lower 
Canada in 1854, Mr. Drummond, was simply an Act declar- 
ing that various articles, being the produce of the United 

1 12 

The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

States, should, during the existence of the treaty, be received 
free into Canada, and that Act repealed the tariff pro tanto , 
it was not introduced by resolution, but after the treaty had 
been submitted and laid on the table, and after a formal 
message had been brought down by Mr. Morin, the leader 
of the Government in the House, to the effect that the Bill 
was introduced with the sanction of the Governor-General. 
I do not, therefore, anticipate that objection will be taken by 
any honourable member, and I suppose the precedent so 
solemnly laid down at that time, will be held to be binding 
now. Should objection, however, be taken, the clauses of 
the Bill respecting the suspension of the Fishery Act and 
transhipment, are sufficient to be proceeded with in this 
manner. The other portions may be printed in italics and 
can be brought up as parts of the Bill or separately as resolu- 
tions, as may be thought best. The journals of the House 
stated that on September 21, 1854, Mr. Chauveau submitted 
a copy of the treaty, which was set out on the face of the 
journals. On the same day Mr. Drummond asked leave of 
the House to bring in a Bill to give effect to a certain treaty 
between Her Majesty and the United States of America; 
and on the 22nd, on the order of the day, for the second read- 
ing of the Bill, Mr. Morin, by command, brought down a 
message from the Governor-General signifying that it was 
by His Excellency’s sanction it had been introduced, where- 
upon the House proceeded to the second reading. That Bill 
was a simple one declaring that various articles mentioned 
in the treaty should, during the existence of the treaty, be 
admitted into this country free of duty. The House now. 
Mr. Speaker, if they give leave that this Bill shall be intro- 
duced and read a first time will be in the possession of all 
those portions of the Treaty of Washington that in any way 
come within the action of the Legislature. 

“ Although the debate upon this subject will, as a matter 
of course, take a wide range and will properly include all 
the subjects connected with the treaty in which Canada has 
any interest, yet it must not be forgotten that the treaty, as 
a whole, is in force, with the particular exceptions I have 

Washington Treaty Speech. 


mentioned ; and the decision of this House will, after all, 
be simply whether the articles of the treaty, extending from 
the 1 8th to the 25th, shall receive the sanction of Parliament, 
or whether those portions of the treaty shall be a dead 
letter. This subject has excited a great deal of interest, as 
was natural in Canada, ever since May 8, 1871, when the 
treaty was signed at Washington. It has been largely dis- 
cussed in the public prints, and opinions of various kinds 
have been expressed upon it — some altogether favourable, 
some altogether opposed, and many others of intermediate 
shades of opinion— and among other parts of the discussion 
has not been forgotten, the personal question relating to my- 
self — the position I held as a member of this Government, 
and as one of the High Commissioners at Washington. 
Upon that question I shall have to speak by-and-bye, yet 
it is one that has lost much of its interest, from the fact that 
by the introduction of this Bill the House and country will 
see that the policy of the Government, of which I am a 
member, is to carry out or try to carry out the treaty, which 
I signed as a plenipotentiary of Her Majesty. 

“Under the reservation made in the treaty, this House 
and the Legislature of Prince Edward Island have full 
power to accept the fishery articles or reject them. In 
that matter this House and Parliament have full and 
complete control. (Hear, hear). No matter what may 
be the consequences of the action of this Parliament, no 
matter what may be the consequences with respect to 
future relations between Canada and England, or between 
Canada and the United States, or between England and 
the United States, no matter what may be the conse- 
quences as to the existence of the present Government 
of Canada, it must not be forgotten that the House has full 
power to reject the clauses of the treaty if they please, and 
maintain the right of Canada to exclude Americans from 
in-shore fisheries, as if the treaty had never been made. (Hear, 
hear). That reservation was fully provided for in the treaty. It 
was made a portion of it — an essential portion, and, if it had 
not been so made, the name of the Minister of Justice of 



The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 


Canada would not have been attached to it. (Hear, hear). 
That right has been reserved, and this Parliament has full 
power to deal with the whole question. I will by-and-bye 
speak more at length as to the part I took in the negotiations, 
but I feel that I performed my duty — a grave and serious 
duty, but still my duty — in attaching my signature to the 
treaty as one of Her Majesty’s representatives and servants. 
(Hear, hear). 

“ Now, sir, let me enter into a short retrospect of occur- 
rences which transpired for some years before arrangements 
were entered into for negotiating the treaty. The Reci- 
procity Treaty with the United States existed from 1854 to 
1866, in which latter year it expired. Great exertions were 
made by the Government of Canada, and a great desire was 
expressed by the Parliament and people of Canada for a 
renewal of that treaty. It was felt to have worked very 
beneficially for Canada. It was felt to have worked also 

to the advantage of the United States : and there was a 
desire and a feeling that those growing interests which had 
been constantly developing and increasing themselves during 
the existence of the treaty would be greatly aided if it 
were renewed and continued. I was a member of the Govern- 
ment at that time with some of my honourable friends who 
are still my colleagues, and we took every step in our power, 
we spared no effort, we left no stone unturned, in order to gain 
that object. The House will remember that for the purpose 
of either effecting a renewal of the treaty, or, if we could not 
obtain that, of arriving at the same object by meatns of concur- 
rent legislation, my honourable friend the member for Sher- 
brooke, at that time Finance Minister, and the present Lieu- 
tenant-Governor of Ontario went to Washington on behalf of 
the Government of Canada. It is a matter of history that all 
their exertions failed, and after their failure, by the general 

consent a consent in which I believe the people of Canada 

were as one man — we came to the conclusion that it would be 
humiliating to Canada to make any further exertions at 
Washington or to do anything more in the way of pressing 
for the renewal of that instrument, and the people of this 


{Sir John s Headquarters during his recent Election .) 

Washington Treaty Speech. 

ii 7 

country, with great energy, addressed themselves to find other 
channels of trade, other means of developing and sustaining 
our various industries, in which, I am happy to say, they have 
been completely successful. 

“ Immediately on the expiration of the treaty our right to 
the exclusive use of the in-shore fisheries returned to us, and it 
will be in remembrance of the House, that Her Majesty’s 
Government desired us not to resume, at least for a year, that 
right to the exclusion of American fishermen, and that the 
prohibition of Americans fishing in those waters should not be 
put in force either by Canada or the Maritime Provinces. All 
the provinces, I believe, desired to accede to the suggestion, and 
was pressed strongly on behalf of the late Province of Canada, 
that it would be against our interests if, for a moment after 
the treaty ceased, we allowed it to be supposed that American 
fishermen had a right to come into our waters as before ; and 
it was only because of the pressure of Her Majesty’s Govern- 
ment and our desire to be in accord with that Government, as 
well as because of our desire to carry with us the moral 
support of Great Britain and the material assistance of 
her fleet, that we assented, with great reluctance, to the 
introduction of a system of licenses, for one year, at a nom- 
inal fee or rate. This was done avowedly by us for the 
purpose of asserting our right. No greater or stronger mode of 
asserting a right, and obtaining the acknowledgement of it by 
those who desire to enter our waters for the purpose of fishing 
could be devised than by exacting payment for the permis- 
sion, and therefore it was that we assented to the licensing 
system. (Hear, hear). 

“Although, in 1866, that system was commenced, it did 
not come immediately into force. We had not then fitted out 
a marine police force, for we were not altogether without 
expectation that the mind of the Government of the United 
States might take a different direction, and that there was a 
probability of negotiations being renewed respecting the 
revival of the Reciprocity Treaty ; and, therefore, although 
the system was established, it was not rigidly put in force, and 
no great exertion was made to seize trespassers who had not 

1 18 

The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

taken out licenses. In the first year, however, a great number 
of licenses were taken out, but when the fee was increased, so 
as to render it a substantial recognition of our rights, the 
payments became fewer and fewer, until at last it was found 
that the vessels who took out licenses were the exception, and 
that the great bulk of fishermen who entered our waters were 
trespassers ; and in addition to the fact that our fisheries were 
invaded, that we were receiving no consideration for the 
liberty, and that our rights were invaded boldly and aggres- 
sively, it was now stated by the American Government, or 
members of the American Cabinet, that the renewal of the 
Reciprocity Treaty was not only inexpedient, but unconsti- 
tutional, and that no such renewal could or would be made. 

“The Government of Canada then, in 1870, after confer- 
ence with the Imperial Government, and after receiving the 
promises of the Imperial Government that we should have 
the support of their fleet in the protection of our just rights — 
a promise which was faithfully carried out — prepared and 
fitted out a sufficient force of marine police vessels to protect 
our rights, and I am glad to believe that that policy was 
perfectly successful. Great firmness was used, but, at the 
same time, great discretion ; there was no harshness, and no 
seizures were made of a doubtful character. No desire to 
harass the foreign fishermen was evidenced, but, on the con- 
trary, in any case in which there was doubt, the officers in 
command of the seizing vessels reported to the head of their 
department, and when the papers were laid before Gov- 
ernment, they, in all cases, gave the offending parties the 
benefit of the doubt. Still, as it would be remembered, some 
of the fishermen made complaints, which complaints, although 
unjust, I am sorry to say were in some instances made and 
supported on oath, of harshness on the part of the cruisers, 
and an attempt was made to agitate the public mind of the 
United States against the people of Canada, and there was at 
that time a feeling on the part of a large portion of the people 
of the United States, which feeling, I am, however, happy to 
say, has since disappeared, that the action of Canada was 
unfriendly. Her Majesty’s Government were of course 

Washington Treaty Speech. 

i 19 

appealed to by the authorities of the United States on all 
these subjects, and the complaints were bandied from one Gov- 
ernment to the other, and proved a source of great irritation. 
While this feeling was being raised in the United States there 
was, on the other hand, a feeling among our fisherman that 
Dur rights were, to a very great degree, invaded. 

“ In order to avoid the possibility of dispute ; in order to 
avoid any appearance of harshness ; in order, while we were 
supporting our fishery rights, to prevent any case of collision 
between the Imperial Government and the United States, or 
between the Canadian authorities and the United States, we 
avoided making seizures within the bays, or in any way bring- 
ing up the ‘ headland question/ This is very unsatisfactory, 
because, as it was said by the fishermen, ‘ if we have these 
rights, we should be protected in the exercise of them/ And 
it was, therefore, well that that question should be settled at 
once and for ever. In addition, however, to the question of 
headlands, a new one had arisen of an exceedingly unpleasant 
nature. By the wording of the Convention of 1818, foreign 
fishermen were only allowed to enter our waters for the 
purpose of procuring wood, water and shelter ; but they 
claimed that they had a right, although fishing vessels, to 
enter our ports for trading purposes ; and it was alleged by 
our own fishermen that under pretence of trading, American 
fishermen were in the habit of invading our fishing grounds, 
and fishing in our waters. The Canadian Government thought 
it, therefore, well to press, not only by correspondence, but by 
a delegate who was a member of the Government, upon Her 
Majesty’s Government the propriety of having that question 
settled with the United States, and consequently my friend 
and colleague, the Postmaster-General, went to England to 
deal with that subject. The results of his mission are before 

“ At the same time that he dealt with the question I have 
just mentioned, he pressed upon the consideration of Her 
Majesty’s Government the propriety of England making on 
our behalf a demand on the United States Government for 
reparation for the wrongs known as ‘ the Fenian Raids/ 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

England agreed to press upon the United States both these 
matters, and to ask that all the disputed questions relating to 
the in-shore fisheries under the Convention of 1 8 1 8 should be 
settled in some mode to be agreed upon between the two 
nations, and also to press upon the United States the wrong 
sustained by Canada at the hands of citizens of the United 
States who had invaded our country. 

‘ Before Her Majesty’s Government had actually, in 
compliance with their promise, made any representation on 
these two subjects to the United States Government, England 
had been engaged in her own behalf in a controversy of a 
very grave character. It was known that what was commonly 
known as ‘ the Alabama claims ’ was a subject of dispute 
between the two countries, involving the gravest consequences, 
and that, hitherto, the results had been most unsatisfactory. 
An attempt had been made to settle the question by what was 
known as the Johnson-Clarendon Treaty, but that treaty had 
been rejected by the United States authorities. So long as 
this question remained unsettled between the two nations 
there was no possibility of the old friendly relations that had 
so long existed between them being restored, and England felt 
that it was of the first importance to her that those amicable 
relations should be restored. It was not only her desire to be 
in the most friendly position towards a country which was so 
closely associated with her by every tie, by common origin, by 
common interest, by common language, but it was also her 
interest to have every cloud removed between the two nations, 
because she had reason to feel that her position with respect 
to the other great powers of the world was greatly affected, 
by the knowledge which those other nations had of the posi- 
tion of affairs between the United States and herself. The 
prestige of Great Britain as a great power was affected most 
seriously by the absence of an entente cordiale between the two 
nations. Two years ago, England was, as a matter of course 
greatly interested in the great and serious questions w r hich 
were then convulsing Europe, and was in danger of being 
drawn by some complication into hostile relations with some 
of the conflicting powers, and she felt — and I speak merely 

Washington Treaty Speech. 

1 2 I 

what must be obvious to every honourable member in the 
House — that she could not press or assert her opinion, with the 
same freedom of action, so long as she was aware, and so long 
as other nations were aware, that in case she should be unfor- 
tunately placed in a state of hostility towards any nation what- 
ever, the United States Government would be forced by the 
United States people to press at that very time, when she 
might be engaged in mortal coflict with another nation, for a 
settlement of those Alabama claims. Hence, Mr. Speaker, 
the great desire of England, in my opinion, that that great 
question should be settled, and hence, also, the intermingling 
of the particular questions relating to Canada with the larger 
Imperial questions. And, sir, in my opinion, it was of greater 
consequence to Canada than to England, at least of as great 
consequence, that the Alabama question should be settled. 

“ Sir, England has promised to us, and we have all faith in 
that promise, that in case of war, the whole force of the 
Empire should be exerted in our defence. (Cheers). What 
would have been the position of England, and what would 
have been the position of Canada, if she had been called uport 
to use her whole force to defend us, when engaged in conflict 
elsewhere. Canada would, as a matter of course, in case of war 
between England and the United States, be the battle ground. 
We should be the sufferers, our country would be devastated, 
our people slaughtered, and our property destroyed, and while 
England would, I believe, under all circumstances, faithfully 
perform her promise to the utmost (cheers), she would be 
greatly impeded in carrying out her desire, if engaged else- 
where. It was, therefore, as much the interest of this Domin- 
ion as of England, that the Alabama and all other questions 
that in any way threatened the disturbance of the peaceful 
relations between the two countries should be settled and 
adjusted ; and therefore, although to a considerable extent I 
agree with the remarks that fell from the Minister of Finance 
when he made his Budget speech, that looking at the subject 
in a commercial point of view, it might have been better, in 
the interest of Canada, that the fishery and Fenian questions 

The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 


should have been settled free and apart from the Imperial 

“ I am pleased, and I was pleased, that the fact of Canada 
having asked England to make these demands upon the 
United States, gave an opportunity for re-opening the nego- 
tiations with respect to the Alabama and other matters. It 
was fortunate that we made that demand, for England could 
not, with due self-respect, have initiated or re-opened the Ala- 
bama question. She had concluded a treaty in London with the 
representative of the United States, and this treaty having been 
rejected by the Supreme Executive of the United States, could 
not herself have re-opened negotiations on the subject. And, 
therefore, it was fortunate, I say, for the peace of the Empire, 
and for the peice of Canada, that we asked England 
to make these demands upon the United States as it afforded 
the opportunity of all these questions being made again 
the subject of negotiation. The correspondence which is 
before the House, between the Secretary of State of the 
United States and the British Ambassador, Sir Edward 
Thornton, has shown how that result was arrived at. The 
invitation was made by the British Ambassador to consider 
the Fishery Question. The United States Government, I 
have no doubt, though, I do not know it as matter of fact, 
by a quiet and friendly understanding between the two 
powers, replied acceding to the request, on condition that 
the larger and graver matters of dispute were also made a 
matter of negotiation. Hence, it was sir, that the arrange- 
ments were made under which the Treaty of Washington 
was affected. 

“ Sir, I have said that it was of the greatest consequence 
to Canada, and to the future peace and prosperity of Canada, 
that every cloud which threatened the peace of England 
and the United States should be dispelled. I was struck 
with an expression that was used to me by a distinguished 
English statesman, that those powers in Europe who are 
not so friendly to England heard, with dismay, that the 
entente cordiale between the two nations was to be renewed 
(hear, hear), and you have seen mentioned in the public press 

Washington Treaty Speech. 


the active exertions that were made by one power, or by the 
representative of one power, for the purpose of preventing 
that happy result (hear, hear), and although Mr. Catacazy 
has been disavowed by the Government of Russia, in the 
same way as poor Vicovich was on a previous occasion when 
he was the organ of Russia in the East. I cannot but feel 
that he was punished only because his zeal outran his discre- 
tion. I can vouch for his active exertions for the purpose 
of preventing this Treaty of Washington receiving the sanc- 
tion of the Senate of the United States. (Hear, hear). While 
England, therefore, was strongly interested in the settlement 
of these questions both for herself and for Canada, the United 
States were also interested and made overtures in a most 
friendly spirit. I believe that there was a real desire among 
the people of the United States to be friendly towards Eng- 
land. I believe that the feeling of irritation, which had been 
caused by the unhappy events of the war, and by the escape 
of the Alabama had almost entirely disappeared, and I hope 
and believe that the people of the United States were then, 
and are now strongly in favour of establishing permanently 
a friendly feeling between the two nations. 

“ Then, besides, they had a further interest in settling 
all matters in dispute. So long as the United States and 
England were not on friendly terms, so long as they were 
standing aloof from each other, it affected very considerably 
the credit of the United States securities in Europe. Not 
only the funds of the United States as a whole, but the 
securities of every State of the Union, and of all American 
enterprises seeking the markets of the world were injuriously 
affected by the unsatisfactory relations between the two 
countries. They were, therefore, prepared to meet each other 
in this negotiation. 

“ To proceed with the history of the circumstances im- 
mediately preceding the formation of the Joint High Com- 
mission at Washington, I will state that on February 1, 
1871, a communication was made to me by His Excel- 
lency, the Governor-General, on behalf of Her Majesty’s 
Government, asking me, in case there was going to be a 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

Joint Commission to settle all questions between England 
and the United States, whether I would act as a member 
of that Commission. I give the date because it has been 
asked for. The communication was verbal, and founded 
upon a telegraphic communication to His Excellency which 
cannot be printed, being of a nature which the House 
can readily understand, ought not properly to be laid 
before this House. This communication was, in the first 
place, for myself alone, I was not allowed to mention it 
for the time to any one else. My reply was that I would 
be greatly embarrassed by any injunction of secrecy as 
regards my colleagues, and that under no circumstances would 
I accept the position without their consent. I subsequently 
received permission to communicate it to them, and I received 
their consent to act upon the Commission. Before accepting, 
however, I took occasion, for my own information and satis- 
faction, to ask through His Excellency what points of agree- 
ment and of difference existed between England and Canada 
with regard to the Fisheries. The answer was a very short one, 
by cable, and it was satisfactory to myself. It was afterwards 
extended in the despatch of February 16, 1871. It shortly 
stated that, of course, it was impossible for Her Majesty’s 
Government to pledge themselves to any forgone conclusion ; 
that, as it was a matter of negotiation, it was, of course, out of 
the question on the part of either Government to give cast 
iron instructions to their representatives, because that would 
do away with every idea of a negotiation. But the despatch 
went on to say that Her Majesty’s Government conidered 
our right to the in-shore fisheries beyond dispute ; that they 
also believed that our claims as to the headlands were just, 
but that those claims might properly be a matter of com- 
promise. It went on further to state that Her Majesty’s 
Government believed that, as a matter of strict right we could 
exclude the American fishermen entering our ports for pur- 
poses of trade and commerce, and that they could only enter 
our waters, in the language of the treaty, for wood, water and 
shelter ; but that this, in the opinion of Her Majesty’s Govern- 
ment, would be a harsh construction of the treaty and might 

Washington Treaty Speech. 


properly be a subject for compromise. On reading that 
despatch, I could have no difficulty, as a member of the 
Canadian Government, in accepting the position, to which my 
colleagues assented, of plenipotentiary to Washington, because, 
as a matter of law, our view of those three points was acknow- 
ledged to be correct, and the subject was therefore devoid of 
any embarrassment, from the fact of Canadians setting up pre- 
tensions which Her Majesty’s Government could not support. 
(Hear, hear). 

“ When the proposition was first made to me, I must say 
that I felt considerable embarrassment and great reluctance 
to become a member of the Commission. I pointed out 
to my colleagues that I was to be one only of five, that I was 
in a position of being over-ruled continually in our discussions, 
and that I could not by any possibility bring due weight from 
my isolated position. I felt also that I would not receive from 
those who were politically opposed to me in Canada, that sup- 
port which an officer going abroad on behalf of his country 
generally received, and had a right to expect. (Hear, hear). 
I knew that I would be made a mark of attack, and this 
House well knows that my anticipations have been verified. I 
knew that I would not get fair play. (Hear, hear). I knew 
that the same policy that had been carried out towards me for 
years and years would continue, and therefore it was a matter 
of grave consideration for myself, whether to accept the 
appointment or not. Sir, a sense of duty prevailed (cheers), 
and my colleagues pressed upon me also that I would be 
wanting in my duty to my country if I declined the appoint- 
ment ; that, if from a fear of the consequences, from a fear 
that I would sacrifice the position I held in the opinions of 
the people of Canada, I should shirk the duty, I would be 
unworthy of the confidence that I had received so long 
from a large portion of the people of Canada. (Cheers). 
What, said my colleagues, would be said if, in consequence of 
your refusal, Canada was not represented, and her interests in 
these matters allowed to go by default ? England, after 
having offered that position to the first minister, and it having 
been refused by him, would have been quite at liberty to have 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

proceeded with the commission and the settlement of all these 
questions without Canada being represented on the commis- 
sion, and those very men who attack me now for having been 
there and taken a certain course, would have been just as loud 
in their complaints, and just as bitter in their attacks, because 
I had neglected the interests of Canada and refused the 
responsibility of asserting the rights of Canada at Washington. 
(Cheers). Sir, knowing, as I said before, what the conse- 
quences would be to myself of accepting that office, and fore- 
seeing the attacks that would be made upon me, I addressed 
a letter to His Excellency the Governor-General, informing 
him of the great difficulties of my position, and that it was 
only from a sense of duty that I accepted the position. 

“ On proceeding to Washington I found a general desire 
among the two branches into which the Joint High Commis- 
sion divided itself, an equal desire, I should say, on the part 
of the United States Commissioners as well as of the British 
Commissioners, that all questions should be settled so far as 
the two Governments could do so. There was a special desire 
that there should be a settlement It was very easy for the 
commissioners, or the Government through their representa- 
tives, to make a treaty, but in the United States there is a 
power above and beyond the Government, the Senate of the 
United States, which had to be considered. It was felt that a 
second rejection of the treaty would be most disastrous for the 
future of both nations ; that it would be a solemn declaration 
that there was no peaceable solution of the question between 
the two nations. An American statesman said to me, ‘ the 
rejection of the treaty now means war.’ Not war to-morrow 
or at any given period, but war whenever ' England happened 
to be engaged in other troubles, and attacked from other 
sources. (Hear, hear). 

“You may therefore imagine, Mr. Speaker, and this House 
may well imagine, the solemn considerations pressing upon 
my mind, as well as upon the minds of my colleagues in Can- 
ada, with whom I was in daily communication, if by any unwise 
course, or from any rigid or pre-conceived opinions, we should 

Washington Treaty Speech. 


risk the destruction for ever of all hope of a peaceable solution 
of the difficulties between the two kindred nations. (Cheers). 
Still, sir, I did not forget that I was their chosen representa- 
tive. I could not ignore the fact that I was selected a mem- 
ber of that commission from my acquaintance with Canadian 
politics. I had continually before me, not only the Imperial 
question, but the interests of the Dominion of Canada, which 
I was there espeoially to represent, and the difficulty of my 
position was, that if I gave undue prominence to the interests 
of Canada, I might justly be held, in England, to be taking 
a purely colonial and selfish view, regardless of the interests 
of the Empire as a whole, and the interests of Canada as a 
portion of the Empire, and, on the other hand, if I kept my 
eye solely on Imperial considerations, I might be held as 
neglecting my especial duty towards this my country, Canada. 
It was a difficult position, as the House will believe, a position 
that pressed upon me with great weight and severity at the 
time, and it has not been diminished in any way since I have 
returned, except by the cordial support of my colleagues, and 
I believe also my friends in this House. (Cheers). 

“ In order to show that I did not for a moment forget 
that I was there to represent the interests of Canada, I 
must ask you to look at the despatch of February 16, 
1871, which reached me at Washington a few days after I 
arrived there — it will be seen that Lord Kimberly used this 
expression, ‘ as at present advised Her Majesty’s Government 
are of opinion that the right of Canada to exclude Americans 
from fishing in the waters within the limits of three marine 
miles of the coast, is beyond dispute, and can only be ceded 
for an adequate consideration. Should this consideration take 
the form of a money payment, it appears to Her Majesty’s 
Government that such an arrangement would be more likely to 
work well than if any conditions were annexed to the exercise 
of the privilege of fishing within the Canadian waters.’ Hav- 
ing read that despatch, and the suggestion that an arrange- 
ment might be made on the basis of a money payment, and 
there being an absence of any statement that such an 
arrangement would only be made with the consent of Canada, 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

I thought it well to communicate with my colleagues at 
Ottawa, and although we had received again and again, 
assurances from Her Majesty’s Government that those rights 
would not be affected, given away, or ceded, without our 
consent, it was thought advisable, in consequence of the 
omission of all reference to the necessity of Canada’s assent 
being obtained to any monetary arrangement, to communi- 
cate by cable that Canada considered the Canadian Fisheries 
to be her property, and they could not be sold without her 

“ That communication was made by the Canadian Govern- 
ment on March ioth, and of that Government I was a member, 
and not only did that communication proceed from the 
Canadian Government to England, giving them fair notice that 
the Canadian Government, of which I was a member, would 
insist upon the right of dealing with her own fisheries, but I 
took occasion to press upon the head of the British Commis- 
sion at Washington, that my own individual opinion, as 
representing Canada, should be laid before Her Majesty’s 
Government. The answer that came back at once by cable 
was extended in full in the despatch of March 17, 1871 ; and 
it was most satisfactory, as it stated that Her Majesty’s 
Government had never any intention of advising Her Majesty 
to part with those fisheries without the consent of Canada. 
Armed with this I felt that I was relieved of a considerable 
amount of my embarrassment. I felt that no matter what 
arrangements might be made, no matter whether I was 
out-voted by my colleagues on the Commission, or what 
instructions might be given by Her Majesty’s Government, 
the interests of Canada were safe, because they were in her 
own hands, and reserved for her own decision. 

“ Now, Mr. Speaker, it must not be supposed that this was 
not a substantial concession on the part of Her Majesty’s 
Government. It is true that Lord Kimberley stated in his 
despatch of March 17th, that ‘when the reciprocity treaty was 
concluded, the Acts of the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick 
Legislatures, relating to the Fisheries were suspended by Acts 
of those Legislatures, and the Fishery rights of Canada are 

Washington Treaty Speech. 


now under the protection of a Canadian Act of Parliament, 
the repeal of which would be necessary in case of the 
cession of those rights to any foreign powers.’ It is 
true, in one sense of the word, but it is also true that if 
Her Majesty, in the exercise of her power, had chosen 
to make a treaty with the United States, ceding not only 
those rights, but ceding the very land over which those 
waters flow, that treaty between England and the United 
States would have been binding, and the United States would 
have held England to it. No matter how unjust to Canada, 
after all her previous promises, still that treaty would be a 
valid and obligatory treaty between England and the United 
States, and the latter would have had the right to enforce its 
provisions, override any provincial laws and ordinances, and 
take possession of our waters and rights. It would have been 
a great wrong, but the consequences would have been the loss, 
practically, of our rights for ever, and so it was satisfactory 
that it should be settled, as it has been settled, without a 
doubt appearing upon the records of the conference at Wash- 
ington. Now the recognition of the proprietary right of 
Canada in her fisheries forms a portion of the State papers of 
both countries. Now the rights of Canada to those fisheries 
are beyond dispute, and it is finally established that England 
cannot, and will not, under any circumstances whatever, cede 
those fisheries without the consent of Canada. So that in any 
future arrangement between Canada and England, or England 
and the United States, the rights of Canada will be respected, 
as it is conceded beyond dispute, that England has not the 
power to deprive Canada of them. We may now rest certain 
that for all time to come England will not, without our consent, 
make any cession of these interests. 

“ To come to the various subjects which interest Canada 
more particularly. I will address myself to them in detail, 
and first, I will consider the question of most importance to 
us, the one on which we are now specially asked to legislate, 
that which interests Canada as a whole most particularly, and 
which interests the Maritime provinces especially. I mean 
the articles of the treaty with respect to our fishery rights. I 



The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

would in the first place say that the protocols which accom- 
pany the treaty, and which are in the hands of every member 
do not give chronologically an every day account of the trans- 
actions of the Conference, although as a general rule, I believe, 
the protocols of such Conferences are kept from day to day, 
but it was thought better to depart from the rule on this 
occasion, and only to record the conclusions arrived at; there- 
fore, while the protocols substantially contain the result of 
the negotiations ended in the treaty, they must not be looked 
upon as chronological details of facts and incidents as they 
occurred. I say so because the protocol which relates more 
especially to the fisheries would lead one to suppose that at 
the first meeting, and without previous discussion the British 
Commissioners stated ‘ that they were prepared to discuss the 
question of the fisheries, either in detail or generally, so as 
either to enter into an examination of the respective rights of 
the two countries under the treaty of 1 8 1 8, and the general 
law of nations, or to approach at once the settlement of the 
question on a comprehensive basis.’ Now the fact is, that it 
was found by the British Commissioners when they arrived at 
Washington and had an opportunity of ascertaining the feeling 
that prevailed at that time, not only among the United States 
Commissioners, but among the public men of the United 
States whom they met there, and from their communications 
with other sources of information, that the feeling was univer- 
sal that all questions should be settled beyond the possibility 
of dispute in the future, and more especially that if, by any 
possibility, a solution of the difficulty respecting the fisheries 
could be arrived at, or a satisfactory arrangement made by 
which the fishery question could be placed in abeyance as in 
1854, it would be to the advantage of both nations. 

“ It must be remembered that the Commission sat in 1871, 
that the exclusion of American fishermen from our waters was 
enforced and kept up during the whole of 1870, and that great 
and loud, though I believe unfounded, complaints had been 
made that American fishing vessels had been illegally seized, 
although they had not trespassed upon our waters. Persons 
interested had been using every effort to arouse and stimulate 

Washington Treaty Speech. 


the minds of the people of the United States against Canada 
and the Canadian authorities, and it was felt and expressed 
that it would be a great bar to the chance of the treaty being 
accepted by the United States, if one of the causes of irrita- 
tion, which had been occurring a few months before should be 
allowed to remain unsettled ; collisions would occur between 
American fishermen claiming certain rights, and Canadians 
resisting those claims, that thereby unfriendly feelings would 
be aroused, and all the good which might be effected by the 
treaty would be destroyed, by quarrels between man and man 
engaged on the fishing grounds. 

“ This feeling prevailed, and I, as a Canadian, knowing 
that the people of Canada desired, and had always expressed 
a wish to enter into the most cordial reciprocal trade arrange- 
ments with the United States, so stated to the British Com- 
missioners, and they had no hesitation, on being invited to do 
so, in stating that they would desire by all means to remove 
every cause of dissension respecting these fisheries by the 
restoration of the old Reciprocity Treaty of 1854. An attempt 
was made in 1865 by the honourable member for Sherbrooke 
(Sir A. T. Galt) and Mr. Howland, on behalf of Canada, to 
renew that treaty, but failed, because the circumstances of the 
United States in 1865 were very different from what they were 
in 1854, and it appeared out of the question, and impossible, 
for the United States to agree to a treaty with exactly the 
same provisions and of exactly the same nature as that of 
1854. So the British Commissioners, believing that a treaty 
similar in detail to that of 1854 could not be obtained, urged 
that one conceived in the same spirit, but adapted to the 
altered circumstances of the two countries, should be adopted, 
and this view was strongly pressed upon the Joint Commis- 
sion. This will appear from the protocol referring to this 
branch of the treaty. It will also appear from the protocol 
that the United States Commissioners stated that the 
Reciprocity Treaty was out of the question, that it could not 
be accepted without being submitted to both branches of 
Congress, and there was not the slightest possibility of 
Congress passing such an Act, and that the agreement by the 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

two Governments to a treaty, including provisions similar in 
spirit to the treaty of 1854, would only ensure the rejection of 
the treaty by the Senate, and, therefore, that some other 
solution must be found. I believe that the United States 
Commissioners were candid and were accurate in their view of 
the situation. I believe that had the treaty contained all the 
provisions, or the essential provisions of the treaty of 1854, 
they would have ensured its rejection by the Senate. 

“ When I speak of the conferences that were held on the 
fisheries I would state, for the information of those members 
of the House who may be unacquainted with the usage in such 
matters, that the Commissioners did not act at the discussions 
individually. The conference was composed of two units, the 
British Commission and the United States Commission. If a 
question arose in conference, on which either of the two parties, 
the British or American branch, desired to consult together, 
they retired, and on their return expressed their views as 
a whole, without reference to the individual opinions of the 
Commissioners. As an individual member of the British 
Commission, and on behalf of Canada, when it was found that 
we could not obtain a renewal of the Reciprocity Treaty, I 
urged upon my English colleagues that the Canadians should 
be allowed to retain the exclusive enjoyment of the in-shore 
fisheries, and that means should be used to arrive in some 
way or other at a settlement of the disputed questions in 
relation to the fisheries, so as to settle the headland question 
and the other one relating to trading in our ports by Amer- 
ican fishermen, and I would have been well satisfied, acting on 
behalf of the Canadian Government, if that course had been 
adopted by the Imperial Government ; but Her Majesty’s 
Government felt and so instructed her Commissioners, and it 
was so felt by the United States Commissioners, that the 
leaving of the chance of collision between the American 
fishermen and the Canadian fishermen a matter of possibility, 
would destroy or greatly prejudice the great object of the 
negotiations that were to restore the amicable relations and 
friendly feelings between the two nations, and therefore Her 
Majesty’s Government pressed that these questions should be 

Washington Treaty Speech. 


allowed to remain in abeyance, and that some other settle- 
ment in the way of compensation to Canada should be found. 

“ The protocol shows, Mr. Speaker, that the United States 
Government, through their Commissioners, made a consider- 
able advance, or at least some advance, in the direction of 
Reciprocity, because they offered to exchange for our in-shore 
fisheries in the first place, the right to fish in their waters 
whatever that might be worth, and they offered to admit 
Canadian coal, salt, fish, and — after 1874 — lumber. They 
offered Reciprocity in these articles. On behalf of Canada 
the British Commissioners said that they did not consider 
that that was a fair equivalent. (Hear, hear). It is not 
necessary that I should enter into all the discussions and 
arguments on that point, but it was pointed out by the British 
Commissioners that already a measure had passed one branch 
of the Legislature of the United States, making coal and 
salt free, and stood ready to be passed by the other branch, 
the Senate. It was believed at that time that the American 
Congress for its own purpose, and in the interest of the Ameri- 
can people, was about to take the duty off these articles, 
and therefore the remission could not be considered as in 
any way a compensation, as Congress was going to take off 
the duty whether there was a treaty or not. Then as regards 
the duty on lumber which was offered to be taken off in 1874 
was pointed out that nearly a third of the whole of the time 
for which the treaty was proposed to exist would expire 
before the duty would be taken off our lumber. The British 
Commissioners urged that under those circumstances the 
offer could not be considered as a fair one, and that Canada 
had a fair right to demand compensation over and above 
these proposed reciprocal arrangements. 

“ Before that proposition was made I was in communica- 
tion with my colleagues. The Canadian Government were 
exceedingly anxious that the original object should be carried 
out, that if we could not get reciprocity as it was in 1854 
that we should be allowed to retain our fisheries and that 
the questions in dispute should be settled ; but Her Majesty’s 
Government taking the strong ground that their acceding to 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

our wishes would be equivalent to an abandonment of carry- 
ing the treaty into effect, the Canadian Government reluct- 
antly said that from a desire to meet Her Majesty’s Govern- 
ment’s views as much as possible, and not to allow it to be 
felt in England, that from a selfish desire to obtain all we 
desired we had frustrated the efforts of Her Majesty’s Govern- 
ment to secure peace, we consented that the proposition I 
have mentioned should be made, and so that proposition 
was made to the United States. 

“ Although I do not know it as a matter of certainty, I 
have reason to believe that, if it had not been for the action of 
this Legislature last session, we would now be passing an Act 
for the purpose of ratifying a treaty in which coal, salt, and 
lumber from Canada would be received into the United States 
free of duty. (Hear, hear). I have reason to believe that, 
had it not been for the interposition of this Legislature, and I 
speak now of political friends as well as foes, those terms 
which were offered by the United States would have been a 
portion of the treaty instead of its standing as it does now. 
(Applause). I will tell the House why I say so. The offer 
was made early by the United States Government. The 
'answer made by the British Commissioners was that, under 
the circumstances, it was not a fair and adequate compensa- 
tion for the privileges that were asked, and the British Com- 
missioners, at the suggestion of the Canadian Government, 
referred the question to Her Majesty’s Government, whether 
they had not a right, in addition to this offer of the United 
States, to expect a pecuniary compensation ; that pecuniary 
compensation to be settled in some way or other. That took 
place on March 25, 1871. On March 25th, I think the final 
proposition was made by the United States Government, and 
on March 22nd, only three days before, the resolution carried in 
this House by which the duty was taken off coal and salt and 
the other articles mentioned. Before that resolution was 
carried here no feeling was expressed in the United States 
against the taking off the duty on Canadian coal and salt im- 
ported into the United States ; no one raised any difficulty 
about it. I am as well satisfied as I can be of any thing which 

Washington Treaty Speech. 


I did not see occur, that the admission of Canadian coal and 
salt into the United States would have been placed in the 
treaty if it had not been for the action of this Legislature. 

“ On March 25th that offer was made, and it was referred 
to England. The English Government stated that they quite 
agreed in the opinion that, in addition to that offer, there 
should be compensation in money, and then, on April 17th, 
the American Commissioners withdrew, as they had a right to 
do, their offer altogether. And why did they withdraw the 
offer altogether ? One of the commissioners in conversation 
said to me : ‘ I am quite surprised to find the opposition that 
has sprung up to the admission of Canadian coal and salt 
into our market. I was quite unprepared for the feeling that 
is exhibited/ I knew right well what the reason was. The 
monopolists having the control of American coal in Pennsyl- 
vania, and salt in New York, so long as the treaty would open 
to them the markets in Canada for their products, were willing 
that it should carry, because they would have the advantage 
of both markets, but when the duty was taken off in Canada, 
when you had opened our market to them, when they had 
the whole control of their own market, and free access to ours, 
whether for coal or salt, the monopolists brought down all 
their energies upon their friends in Congress, and through 
them a pressure on the American Government for the purpose 
of preventing the admission of Canadian coal and salt into 
the American market, and from that, I have no doubt, came 
the withdrawal by the American Commissioners of their 
offer. When my honourable friend from Bothwell (Mr. Mills) 
said last session, ‘there goes the Canadian National Policy/ 
he was little aware of the consequences of the reckless course 
he had taken. (Hear, hear). Honourable gentlemen may 
laugh, but they will find it no laughing matter. The people of 
Canada, both east and west, will hold to strict account those 
who acted so unpatriotically in this matter. 

‘‘Under these circumstances, Mr. Speaker, I felt myself 
powerless, and when the American Commissioners made their 
last offer, which is now in the treaty, offering reciprocity in 
fisheries, that Canadians should fish in American waters, and 

36 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

that Americans should fish in Canadian waters, and that fish 
and fish oil should be reciprocally free, and that if on arbitra- 
tion it were found that the bargain was an unjust one to 
Canada, and Canada did not receive sufficient compensation 
for her fisheries by that arrangement, it was remitted to Her 
Majesty’s Government to say what should be done, and as 
will be seen by the the last sentence of the protocol : ‘ The 
subject was further discussed in the Conferences of April 18th 
and 19th, and the British Commissioners having referred the 
last proposal to the Government, and received instructions 
to accept it, the treaty articles, 18 to 25, were agreed to at the 
Conference on April 23rd.’ Thus then it occurred that these 
articles from 18 to 25 are portions of the treaty. One of these 
articles reserves to Canada the right of adoption or rejection 
and it is for this Parliament now to say whether under all the 
circumstances it should ratify or reject them. 

“ The papers that have been laid before the House show 
what was the opinion of the Canadian Government. Under 
present circumstances of that question, the Canadian Govern- 
ment believe that it is for the interest of Canada to accept the 
treaty, to ratify it by legislation. (Hear, hear). They be- 
lieve it is for the interest of Canada to accept it, and they 
are more inclined to believe it from the fact which I must 
say has surprised me, and surprised my colleagues, and has 
surprised the country — that the portion of the treaty which 
was supposed to be most unpopular and most prejudicial to 
the interests of the Maritime Provinces has proved to 
be the least unpopular. (Hear, hear). Sir, I could not 
have anticipated that the American fishermen, who were 
offered the advantages of fishing in our waters would be to a 
man, opposed to the treaty as inflicting upon them a great 
injury. I could not have anticipated that the fishermen of 
the Maritime Provinces, who, at first expressed hostility, 
would now, with a few exceptions, be anxious for its adoption. 
(Hear, hear). 

“In viewing these articles of the treaty, I would call the 
consideration of the House to the fact that their scope and 
aim have been greatly misrepresented by that portion of the 

Washington Treaty Speech. 

Canadian press which is opposed to the present Govern- 
ment. It has been alleged to be an ignominious sale of the 
property of Canada, a bartering away of the territorial rights 
of this country for money. Sir, no allegation could be more 
utterly unfounded than this. (Hear, hear). It is no more a 
transfer and sale of the territorial rights of Canada than was 
the treaty of 1854. The very basis of this treaty is recipro- 
city. (Hear, hear). To be sure it does not go as far and 
embrace as many articles as the treaty of 1852. I am sorry for 
it. I fought hard that it should be so, but the terms of this 
treaty are terms of reciprocity, and the very first clause ought 
to be sufficient evidence upon that point, for it declares that 
Canadians shall have the same right to fish in American 
waters, that Americans will have under the treaty to fish in 
Canadian waters. True it may be said that our fisheries 
are more valuable than theirs, but that does not effect the 
principle. The principle is this — that we were trying to make 
a reciprocity arrangement and going as far in the direction 
of reciprocity as possible. The principle is the same in each 
case, and as regards the treaty that has been negotiated it 
is not confined to reciprocity in the use of the in-shore fisheries 
of the two countries. It provides that the products of the 
fisheries of the two nations, fish oil as well as fish, shall be 
interchanged free. The only departure from the principle 
of reciprocity in the present treaty is the provision, that 
if it shall be found that Canada had made a bad bargain 
and had not received a fair compensation for what she gave ; 
if it shall be found that while there was reciprocity as to 
the enjoyment of rights and privileges, there was not true 
reciprocity in value, then the difference in value should be 
ascertained and paid to this country. (Hear, hear). Now, 
if there is anything approaching to the dishonourable and 
the degrading in these proposals I do not know the meaning 
of those terms. (Hear, hear). This provision may not be 
one that will meet the acceptance of the country, but I say 
that the manner in which it has been characterized, is a 
wilful and deliberate use of language which the parties 
employing it did not believe at the time to be accurate, and 

138 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

to which they resorted for political reasons, and in order 
to create misapprehensions in the country. Sir, there was 
no humiliation. Canada would not tolerate an act of humilia- 
tion on the part of its Government. England would neither 
advise nor permit one of her faithful colonies to be degraded 
and cast down. (Cheers). 

“ But it is said that the American fisheries are of no 
value to us. They are not as valuable as ours it is true, but 
still they have a substantial value for us in this way — that 
the exclusion of Canadian fishermen from the American coast 
fisheries would have been a loss to the fishing interests of 
the Maritime Provinces, and I will tell you why. It is quite 
true that the mackerel fishery, which is the most valuable 
fishery on these coasts, belongs chiefly to Canada, and that 
the mackerel of the American coast is far inferior in every 
respect to the Canadian fish, but it is also true that in 
American waters, the favourite bait to catch the mackerel 
with, known as the menhadden is found, and it is so much 
the favourite bait that, one fishing vessel having this bait 
on board, will draw a whole school of mackerel in the very 
face of vessels having an inferior bait. Now the value of 
the privilege of entering American waters for catching that 
bait is very great. If Canadian fishermen were excluded 
from American waters, by any combination among American 
fishermen or by any Act of Congress, they might be deprived 
of getting a single ounce of the bait. American fishermen 
might combine for that object, or a law might be passed by 
Congress forbidding the exportation of menhadden ; but by 
the provision made in the treaty, Canadian fishermen are 
allowed to enter into American waters to procure the bait, 
and the consequences of that is, that no such combination can 
exist and Canadians can purchase the bait and be able to fish 
on equal terms with the Americans. (Hear, hear). 

“ It is thus seen, sir, that this Reciprocity Treaty is not a 
mere matter of sentiment — it is a most valuable privilege, 
which is not to be neglected, despised, or sneered at. With 
respect to the language of these articles some questions have 
been raised and placed on the paper, and I have asked the 

Governor-General of Canada, November 1878, to October, i88j. 

Washington Treaty Speech. 


honourable gentlemen who were about to put them, to post- 
pone doing so ; and I now warn honourable members, and I 
do it with the most sincere desire to protect the interests 
of Canada, if' this treaty becomes a treaty, and we ratify the 
fishery articles — I warn them not to raise questions which 
otherwise might not be raised. I think, Mr. Speaker, there is 
no greater instance in which a wise discretion can be used, 
than in not suggesting any doubts. With respect, however, t© 
the question which was put by the honourable member for the 
county of Charlotte — and it is a question which might well be 
put, and which requires some answer — I would state to that 
honourable gentleman, and I think he will be satisfied with 
the answer, that the Treaty of 1871, in the matter his ques- 
tions refers to, is larger and wider in its provisions in favour of 
Canada than was the Treaty of 1854, and that under the 
Treaty of 1854, no question was raised as to the exact locality 
of the catch, but all fish brought to the United States market 
by Canadian vessels were free. I say this advisedly, and I 
will discuss it with the honourable gentleman whenever he 
may choose to give me the opportunity. The same practice 
will, I have no doubt, be continued under the Treaty of 1871, 
unless the people of Canada themselves raise the objection. 
The warning I have just now expressed, I am sure the House 
will take in the spirit in which it is intended. No honourable 
member will, of course, be prevented from exercising his own 
discretion, but I felt it my duty to call the attention of 
the House to the necessity of great prudence in not raising 
needlessly, doubts as to the terms of the Treaty. 

“It will be remembered that we have not given all our 
fisheries away, the treaty only applies to the fisheries of the 
old Province of Canada, and in order that the area should not 
be widened, it is provided that it shall only apply to the 
fisheries of Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince 
Edward Island, so that the treaty does not allow the Amer- 
icans to have access to the Pacific coast fisheries, nor yet to 
the inexhaustible and priceless fisheries of the Hudson’s Bay. 
Those are great sources of revenue yet undeveloped, but after 
the treaty is ratified, they will develop rapidly, and in twelve 

I 4 2 

The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

years from now, when the two nations sit down to reconsider 
the circumstances, and readjust the treaty, it will be found 
that other and great wealth will be at the disposal of the 

“ I may be asked, though I have not seen that the 
point has excited any observation, why were not the products 
of the lake fisheries laid open to both nations, and in reply I 
may say that these fisheries were excepted at my instance. 
The Canadian fisheries on the north shores of the great lakes 
are most valuable. By a judicious system of preservation and 
protection we have greatly increased that source of wealth. It 
is also known that from a concurrence of circumstances and 
from situation the fisheries on the south shores are not nearly 
so valuable as ours, and it therefore appeared that if we once 
allowed the American fishermen to have admission to our 
waters, with their various engines of destruction, all the care 
taken for many years to cultivate that source of wealth would 
be disturbed, injured, and prejudiced, and there would be no 
end of quarrels and dissatisfaction in our narrow waters, and 
no real reciprocity, and, therefore, that Canada would be much 
better off by preserving her own Inland Lake Fisheries to her 
herself, and have no right to enter the American market with 
the products of those fisheries. This was the reason why the 
lake fisheries were not included in this arrangement. 

“ Now, sir, under the present circumstances of the case, the 
Canadian Government have decided to press upon this House 
the policy of accepting this treaty and ratifying the Fishery 
Articles. I may be liable to the charge of injuring our case in 
discussing the advantages of the arrangement, because every 
word used by me may be quoted and used as evidence against 
us hereafter. The statement has been so thrown broadcast 
that the arrangement is a bad one for Canada, that in order to 
show to this House and the country that it is one that can be 
accepted, one is obliged to run the risk of his language being 
used before the Commissioners to settle the amount of 
compensation as an evidence of the value of the treaty to us. 

“ It seems to me that in looking at the treaty in a com- 
mercial point of view, and looking at the question whether it 

Washington Treaty Speech. 


is right to accept the articles, we have to consider that interest 
which is most peculiarly first affected. Now, unless I am 
greatly misinformed the fishing interests with one or two 
exceptions for local reasons in Nova Scotia, are altogether in 
favour of the treaty. (Hear, hear). They are anxious to get 
admission of their fish into the American market ; they would 
view with sorrow any action of this House which would 
exclude them from that market ; they look forward with 
increasing confidence to a large development of their trade, 
and of that great industry, and I say that being the case, if 
it be to the interest of the fishermen, and for the advantage of 
that branch of the national industry, setting aside all other 
considerations, we ought not wilfully to injure that interest. 
What is the fact of the case as it stands now ? The only 
market in the world for the Canadian number one mackerel 
is the United States. That is their only market, and they are 
practically excluded from it by the present duty. The 
consequence of that duty is that they are at the mercy of the 
American fishermen ; they are made the hewers of wood and 
drawers of water for the Americans. They are obliged to sell 
their fish at the American’s own price. The American fisher- 
men purchase their fish at a nominal value, and control the 
American market. The great profits of the trade are handed 
over to the American fishermen or the American merchants 
engaged in the trade, and they profit to the loss of our own 
people. Let any one go down the St. Lawrence on a summer 
trip, as many of us do, and call from the deck of the steamer 
to a fisherman in his boat and see for what a nominal price 
you can secure the whole of his catch, and that is from the 
absence of a market, and from the fact of the Canadian 
fishermen being completely under the control of the 

“ With the duty off Canadian fish, the Canadian fisherman 
may send his fish at the right time, when he can obtain the 
best price, to the American market, and thus be the means of 
opening a profitable trade with the United States, in exchange. 
If, therefore, it is for the advantage of the Maritime Provinces, 
including that portion of Quebec, which is also largely inter- 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

ested in the fisheries, that this treaty should be ratified, and 
that this great market should be opened to them, on what 
ground should we deprive them of this right ? Is it not a 
selfish argument, that the fisheries can be used as a lever in 
order to gain reciprocity in flour, wheat and other cereals ? 
Are you to shut them off from this great market in order that 
you may coerce the United States into giving you an exten- 
sion of the reciprocal principle ? Why, Mr. Speaker, if it were 
a valid argument, it would be a selfish one. What would be 
said by the people of Ontario if the United States had offered, 
for their own purposes, to admit Canadian grains free, and 
Nova Scotia had objected, saying, ‘ No, you shall not have 
that market ; you must be deprived of that market for ever, 
unless we can take in our fish also ; you must lose all that 
great advantage until we can get a market for our fish ’ ? 
Apply the argument in this way and you will see how selfish 
it is. 

“ But the argument has no foundation, no basis of fact, and 
I will show this House how. In 1854, by a strict and rigid 
observance of the principle of exclusion, the American fisher- 
men were driven out of those waters. At that time the 
United States was free from debt, and from taxation, and they 
had large capital invested in their fisheries. Our fisheries 
were then in their infancy. They were a £ feeble * people 
just beginning as fishermen, with little capital and little 
skill, and their operations were very restricted. I do not 
speak disparagingly, but in comparison with the fishermen of 
the United States there was an absence of capital and skill. 
The United States were free from taxation, they had this 
capital and skill, and all they wanted was our Canadian waters 
in which to invest that capital and exercise that skill, but how 
is it altered now ? Our fisheries are now no lever by which 
to obtain reciprocity in grain. What do the United States 
care for our fisheries ? The American fishermen are opposed to 
the treaty. Those interested in the fisheries are sending petf 
tion after petition to the United States Government and Com 
gress praying that the treaty may be rejected. They say they 
do not want to come into our waters. The United States Gov» 

Washington Treaty Speech. 


ernment have gone into this treaty with every desire to settle 
all possible sources of difficulty, their fishermen complain 
that they will suffer by it, but the United States Government 
desire to meet us face to face, hand to hand, heart to heart, 
and to have an amicable settlement of all disputes. They 
know that they are not making political friends or gaining 
political strength because nearly the whole of the interest most 
affected by the fishery articles is against the treaty. But they 
desire that the ill feelings which arose during the civil war, 
and from the Alabama case, should be forgotten. A feeling 
of friendship has grown up between the nations, and it can be 
no other desire than to foster and encourage that feeling 
which dictates the agreeing to these particular articles. The 
United States Government will simply say — well, if you do 
not like these arrangements reject them — and the consequence 
will be on your own head if this friendship so auspiciously 
commenced is at any time broken by unhappy collisions in 
your waters.” 




Sir John Macdonald’s speech on the Washington Treaty continued — The validity 
of former treaties with the United States considered — Judge Pomeroy’s 
opinion— Disputes set at rest by the Washington Treaty — The free naviga- 
tion of the St. Lawrence — Opinion of Mr. Phillimore — Canada retains 
sole control of the canals — Free navigation of Alaska rivers — The St. Clair 
flats — The bonding system — The San Juan boundary — The Fenian raid 
claims — Not included in the questions submitted — England’s responsibility 
— A guaranteed loan — The great importance of accepting the Treaty. 

u T AM afraid I must apologize to the House for the unin- 
X teresting manner in which I have laid the subject before 
the House so far. I was showing as well as I could my opinion, 
and my reasons for that opinion, that under the circumstances 
the treaty, although it is not what we desired, and although it 
is not what I pressed for, ought to be accepted. I shall not 
pursue that branch of the subject to greater length, as during 
the discussion of the measure I have no doubt that I shall 
have again an opportunity to reurge these and further views 
on the same subject as they may occur to me, or as they may 
be elicited. 

“ I shall, however, call the serious attention of the House, 
and especially of those members of the House who have given 
attention to the question in dispute as regards the validity of 
the several treaties between the United States and England, 
to the importance of this treaty in this respect, that it sets at 
rest now and for ever the disputed question as to whether the 
Convention of 1 8 1 8 was not repealed, and obliterated by the 
treaty of 1854. This question, Mr. Speaker, is one that has 
occupied the attention of the United States Jurists and has 
been the subject of serious and elaborate discussions. From 
my point of view the pretension of the United States is errone- 
ous, but it has been pressed, and we know the pertinacity with 
which such views are pressed by the United States. We have 
an example in the case of the navigation of the river St. 
Lawrence, which, while it was discussed from 1822 to 1828, 
and was apparently settled then for ever between the two 
nations, was revived by the President of the United States in 
his address of 1870, and the difference between the point of 


Washington Treaty Speech. 


view as pressed in 1828, by the United States and that pressed 
in 1870, was shewn by the result of the treaty (Honourable 
Mr. Blake, ‘ hear, hear ’). And, sir, it was of great importance 
in my point of view that this question, which has been so 
pressed by American jurists, and considering also the pertin- 
acity with which such views are urged, should be set at rest 
for ever. 

“ The question has been strongly put in the American 
Law Review of April 1871, in an article understood to have 
been written by Judge Pomeroy, a jurist of standing in the 
United States, and that paper, I believe, expresses the real 
opinion of the writer — erroneous though I hold it to be — 
and his candour is shown by this fact, as well as from the 
known standing of the man, that in one portion of the article 
he demolishes the claim of the American fishermen to the 
right to trade in our water. He proves in an able argument 
that the claim of American fishermen to enter our harbours 
for any purpose other than wood, water, and shelter, is with- 
out foundation. The view taken by that writer and others 
— and among others by a writer whose name I do not know, 
but whose papers are very valuable from their ability, they 
appeared in the N.Y. Nation , is this : The treaty of 1783 
was a treaty of peace, a settlement of boundary, and a 
division of country between two nations. The United States 
contended that that treaty was in force, and is now in force, 
as it was a treaty respecting boundary, and was not abrogated 
or affected by the war of 1812. Under the treaty of 1783, 
and by the terms of that treaty, the fishermen of the United 
States had the unrestrained right to enter into all our waters 
up to our shores, and to every part of British North America. 
After 1815 England contended that that permission was 
abrogated by the war and was not renewed by the Treaty 
of Peace of 1814. The two nations were thus at issue on 
that very grave point, and those who look back to the history 
of that day will find that the difference on that point threat- 
ened the renewal of war, and it was only settled by the com- 
promise known as the Convention of 1818, by which the 
claim of the Americans to fish within three miles of our 

148 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

shores, was renounced. The argument is, however, of a 
nature too technical to be of interest to the House, and 
requires to be very carefully studied before it can be under- 
stood, I will not, therefore, trouble the House, with that 
argument but I will read one or two passages to show the 
general statement of the case. 

“‘We shall now enquire whether the convention of 1818, 
is an existing compact, and if not, what are the rights of 
American fishermen under the Treaty of Peace of 1783. 

“‘Since the expiration of the Reciprocity Treaty in 1866. 
the British Government, both at home and in the provinces, 
has, in its statutes, its official instructions, and its diplomatic 
correspondence, quietly assumed that the convention of 1818 
is again operative in all its provisions. That the State 
Department at Washington should, by its silence, have ad- 
mitted the correctness of this assumption, which is equally 
opposed to principle and to authority, is remarkable. We 
shall maintain the proposition that the treaty of peace of 1783 
is now in full force, that all limitations upon its efficiency 
have been removed, and that it is the only source and founda 
tion of American fishing rights within the North Eastern 
Territorial waters. In pursuing the discussions we shall 
show, first, that the renunciatory clauses of the convention 
of 1818 have been removed; and secondly, that article III, 
of the treaty of 1783 thus left free from the restrictions of 
the subsequent compact, was not abrogated by the war of 

The writer thus concludes : — 

“‘Article III of the treaty of 1783 is, therefore, in the 
nature of an executed grant. It created and conferred at 
one blow rights of property, perfect in their nature, and as 
permanent as the dominion over the national soil. These 
rights are held by the inhabitants of the United States, and 
are to be exercised in British territorial waters. Unaffected 
by the war of 1812, they still exist in full force and vigour. 
Under the provisions of this treaty, American citizens are 
now entitled to take fish on such parts of the coasts of New- 
foundland as British fishermen use, and also on all the ccasU, 

Washington Treaty Speech. 


bays, and creeks, of all other His Britannic Majesty’s domin- 
ions in America, and to dry and cure fish in any of the 
unsettled bays, harbours, and creeks of Nova Scotia, the 
Magdalen Islands and Labrador. 

“ ‘The final conclusion thus reached is sustained by princi- * 
pie and by authority. We submit that it should be adopted 
by the Government of the United States, and made the basis 
of any further negotiations with Great Britain/ 

“ I quote this for the purpose of showing that the pre- 
tension was formally set up and elaborated by jurists of no 
mean standing or reputation, and therefore it is one of the 
merits of this treaty that it forever sets the dispute at rest. 
The writers on this subject, the very writers of whom I have 
spoken, admit that under this treaty the claim is gone, because 
it is a formal admission by the United States Government 
that, under the convention of 1818, we had, on May 8, 1871, 
the property of these in-shore fisheries, and this was so 
admitted after the question had been raised in the United 
States, that the ratification of the treaty of 1854 was equal, in 
its effect, to an abrogation of the convention of 1818. They 
agree by this treaty to buy their entry into our waters, and 
this is the strongest possible proof that their argument could 
be no longer maintained. Just as the payment of rent by a 
tenant is the strongest proof of his admission of the right of 
the landlord, so is the agreement to pay to Canada a fair sum 
as an equivalent for the use of our fisheries, an acknowledg- 
ment of the permanent continuance of our right. So much, 
sir, for that portion of the treaty which affects the fisheries. 

“ I alluded a minute ago to the St. Lawrence. The sur- 
render of the free navigation of the River St. Lawrence in its 
natural state, was resisted by England up to 1828. The claim 
was renewed by the present Government of the United States, 
and asserted in a message to Congress by the present Presi- 
dent of the United States. Her Majesty’s Government, in the 
instructions sent to Her Commissioners, took the power and 
responsibility of the matter into her own hands. It was a 
matter which we could not control. Being a matter of 
boundary between two nations, and affecting a river which 

The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 


forms the boundary between the limits of the Empire and the 
limits of the United States, it is solely within the control of 
Her Majesty’s Government, and in the instructions to the 
plenipotentiaries, this language is used : ‘ Her Majesty’s Gov- 
ernment are now willing to grant the free navigation of the 
St. Lawrence to the citizens of the United States, on the same 
conditions and tolls as imposed on British subjects.’ 

“ I need not say, sir, that, as a matter of sentiment, I 
regretted this, but it was a matter of sentiment only. How- 
ever, there could be no practical good to Canada in resisting 
the concession, and there was no possible evil inflicted on 
Canada by the concession of the privilege of navigating that 
small piece of broken water between St. Regis and Montreal. 
In no way could it affect, prejudicially, the interests of Can- 
ada, her trade, or her commerce. Without the use of our 
canals, the river was useless. Up to Montreal the St. Law- 
rence is open not only to the vessels of the United States, but 
to the vessels of the world. Canada courts the trade and the 
ships of the world, and it would have been most absurd to 
suppose that the ports of Quebec and Montreal should be 
closed to American shipping. No greater evidence of un- 
friendly relations short of actual war can be adduced, than the 
fact of the ports of a country being closed to the commerce 
of another. It never entered into the minds of any that our 
ports should be closed to the trade of the world in general, or 
the United States in particular, no more than it would enter 
into the minds of the English to close the ports of London 
or Liverpool — those ports whither the flags of every nation 
are invited and welcomed. (Cheers). From the source of the 
St. Lawrence to St. Regis the United States are part owners 
of the banks of the rivers, and by a well-known principle of 
international law the water flowing between the two banks is 
common to both, and not only is that a principle of law, but it 
is a matter of actual treaty. The only question then was 
whether, as the American people had set their hearts upon it, 
and as it could do no harm to Canada or to England, it would 
not be well to set this question at rest with the others, and 
make the concession. This was the line taken by Her 

Washington Treaty Speech. 


Majesty’s Government, and which they had a right to take ; 
and when some one writes my biography— if I am ever 
thought worthy of having such an interesting document pre- 
pared — and when, as a matter of history, the questions con- 
nected with this treaty are upheld, it will be found that upon 
this, as well as upon every other point, I did all I could to 
protect the rights and claims of the Dominion. (Cheers). 

“With respect to the right itself, I would call the attention 
of the House to the remarks of a distinguished English jurist 
upon the point. I have read from the work of an American 
jurist, and I will now read some remarks of Mr. Phillimore, a 
standard English writer on international law. What I am 
about to read was written under the idea that the Americans 
were claiming what would be of practical use to them. He 
was not aware that the difficulties of navigation were such that 
the concession would be of no practical use. He writes as 
follows : 

“ ‘ Great Britain possessed the northern shores of the lakes, 
and of the river in its whole extent to the sea, and also 
the southern bank of the river from the latitude forty-five 
degrees north to its mouth. The United States possessed the 
southern shores of the lakes, and of the St. Lawrence, to the 
point where their northern boundary touched the river. These 
two governments were therefore placed pretty much in the 
same attitude towards each other, with respect to the naviga- 
tion of the St. Lawrence, as the United States and Spain had 
been in with respect to the navigation of the Mississippi, 
before the acquisitions of Louisiana and Florida. 

“ ‘ The argument on the part of the United States was much 
the same as that which they had employed with respect to the 
navigation of the Mississippi. They referred to the dispute 
about the opening of the Scheldt in 1874, and contended that, 
in the case of that river, the fact of the banks having been the 
creation of artificial labour was a much stronger reason, than 
could be said to exist in the case of the Mississippi for closing 
the mouths of the sea adjoining the Dutch Canals of the Sas 
and the Swin, and that this peculiarity probably caused the 
insertion of the stipulation in the Treaty of Westphalia ; that 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

the case of the St. Lawrence differed materially from that of 
the Scheldt, and fell directly under the principle of free navi- 
gation embodied in the Treaty of Vienna respecting the 
Rhine, the Neckar, the Mayne, the Moselle, the Meuse and 
the Scheldt. But especially it was urged, and with a force 
which it must have been difficult to parry, that the present 
claim of the United States with respect to the navigation of 
the St. Lawrence, was precisely of the same nature as that 
which Great Britain had put forward with respect to the navi- 
gation of the Mississippi when the mouth and lower shores of 
that river were in the possession of another State, and of 
which claim Great Britain had procured the recognition by the 
Treaty of Paris in 1763. 

“ ‘The principle argument contained in the reply of Great 
Britain was, that the liberty of passage by one nation through 
the dominions of another was, according to the doctrine of the 
most eminent writers upon International Law, a qualified 
occasional exception to the paramount rights of property ; 
that it was what these writers called an imperfect, and not a 
perfect right ; that the Treaty of Vienna did not sanction this 
notion of a natural right to the free passage over rivers, but, 
on the contrary, the inference was that, not being a natural 
right, it required to be established by a convention ; that the 
right of passage once conceded must hold good for other 
purposes besides those of trade in peace, for hostile purposes 
in time of war ; that the United States could not consistently 
urge their claim on principle without being prepared to apply 
that principle by way of reciprocity, in favour of British 
subjects, to the navigation of the Mississippi and the Hudson, 
to which access might be had from Canada by land carriage 
or by the canals of New York and Ohio. 

“ ‘ The United States replied, that practically the St. Law- 
rence was a strait, and was subject to the same principles of 
law ; and that as straits are accessory to the seas which they 
unite and therefore the right of navigating them is common to 
all nations, so the St. Lawrence connects with the ocean those 
great inland lakes, on the shores of which the subjects of the 
United States and Great Britain both dwell ; and, on the 

Washington Treaty Speech. 


same principle, the natural link of the river, like the natural 
link of the strait, must be equally available for the purpose of 
passage by both. The passage over land, which was always 
pressing upon the minds of the writers on international law, is 
intrinsically different from a passage over water ; in the latter 
instance, no detriment or inconvenience can be sustained by 
the country to which it belongs. The track of the ship is 
effaced as soon as made ; the track of an army may leave 
serious and lasting injury behind. The United States would 
not shrink from the application of the analogy with respect to 
the navigation of the Mississippi, and whenever a connection 
was effected between it and Upper Canada, similar to that 
existing between the United States and the St. Lawrence, the 
same principle should be applied. It was, however, to be 
recollected, that the case of rivers which both rise and disem- 
bogue themselves within the limits of the same nation is very 
distinguishable, upon principle, from that of rivers which, 
having their sources and navigable positions of their streams 
in States above, discharge themselves within the limits of 
other States below. 

“ ‘ Lastly, the fact, that the free navigation of rivers had 
been made a matter of convention did not disprove that this 
navigation was a matter of natural right restored to its proper 
position by treaty. 

“ ‘The result of this controversy has hitherto produced no 
effect. Great Britain has maintained her exclusive right. The 
United States still remain debarred from the use of this great 
highway, and are not permitted to carry over it the produce of 
the vast and rich territories which border on the lakes above 
to the Atlantic ocean. 

“ ‘ It seems difficult to deny that Great Britain may ground 
her refusal upon strict law ; but it is at least equally difficult 
to deny, first, that in so doing she exercises harshly an 
extreme and hard law ; secondly, that her conduct with 
respect to the navigation of the St. Lawrence is in glaring and 
discreditable inconsistency with her conduct with respect to 
the navigation of the Mississippi. On the ground that she 
possessed a small tract of domain in which the Mississippi 

154 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

took its rise, she insisted on her right to navigate the entire 
volume of its waters ; on the ground that she possesses both 
banks of the St. Lawrence, where it disembogues itself into 
the sea, she denies to the United States the right of naviga- 
tion, though about one half of the waters of Lakes Ontario, 
Erie, Huron and Superior, and the whole of Lake Michigan, 
through which the river flows, are the property of the United 

“‘An English writer upon International Law cannot but 
express a hope that this summinn jus , which, in this case, 
approaches to summa injuria , may be voluntarily abandoned 
by his country. Since the late revolution in the South 
American Provinces, by which the dominion of Rosas was 
overthrown, there appears to be good reason to hope that the 
States of Paraguay, Bolivia, Buenos Ayres, and Brazil, will 
open the River Parana, to the navigation of the world.’ ” 

“ On reading a report of a speech of my honourable friend, 
the member for Lambton, on this subject — a very able and 
interesting speech, if he will allow me so to characterize it — I 
find that in speaking of the navigation of Lake Michigan, he 
stated that that lake was as much a portion of the St. Law- 
rence as the river itself. I do not know under what principle 
my honourable friend made that statement, but those inland 
seas are seas as much as the Black Sea is a sea and not a 
river. The lake is enclosed on all sides by the United States 
territory ; no portion of its shores belongs to Canada, and 
England has no right by International Law to claim its navi- 
gation. Sir, she never has claimed it, for if my honourable 
friend will look into the matter, he will find that these great 
lakes have ever been treated as inland seas, and as far as 
magnitude is concerned, are worthy of being so treated. 
Although Her Majesty’s Commissioners pressed that the 
navigation of Lake Michigan should be granted as an equiva- 
lent for the navigation of the St. Lawrence, the argument 
could not be based on the same footing, and we did not and 
could not pretend to have the same grounds. It is, however, 
of little moment whether Canada has a grant by treaty of the 
free navigation of Lake Michigan or not, for the cities on the 

The Navigation of the St. Lawrence. 


shores of that lake would never consent to have their ports 
closed, and there is no fear in the world of our vessels being 
excluded from those ports. The Western States, and 
especially those bordering on the Great Lakes, would resist 
this to the death. I would like to see a Congress that would 
venture to close the ports of Lake Michigan to the shipping of 
England, or of Canada, or of the world. The small portion of 
the St. Lawrence which lies between the two points I have 
mentioned, would be of no use, as there is no advantage to be 
obtained therefrom as a lever to obtain reciprocity. 

Honourable Mr. Mackenzie : “ Hear, hear.” 

Honourable Sir John A. Macdonald : “ My honourable 
friend says ‘ Hear, hear,’ but I will tell him that the only lever 
for obtaining reciprocity is the sole control of our canals. So 
long as we have the control of these canals we are the masters, 
and can do just as we please. American vessels on the down 
trip can run the rapids, if they get a strong Indian to steer, 
but they will never come back again unless Canada chooses. 
(Hear). The keel drives through those waters, and then the 
mark disappears forever, and that vessel will be forever absent 
from the place that once knew it, unless by the consent of 
Canada. Therefore, as I pointed out before the recess, as we 
have no lever in our fisheries to get reciprocity, so we had 
none in the navigation of the St. Lawrence in its natural 
course. The real substantial means to obtain reciprocal trade 
with the United States is in the canals, and is expressly stated 
in the treaty ; and when the treaty, in clause 27, which relates 
to the canals, uses the words : ‘ The Government of Her Brit- 
tanic Majesty engages to urge upon the Government of the 
Dominion of Canada to secure to the citizens of the United 
States the use of the Welland and St. Lawrence and other 
canals in the Dominion, on terms of equality, etc.,’ it contains 
an admission by the United States, and it is of some advan- 
tage to have that admission, that the canals are our own 
property, which we can open to the United States as we 
please. The reason why this admission is important is this : 
article 26 provides that ‘ the navigation of the River St. Law- 
rence, ascending and descending from the 45th parallel of 

156 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

north latitude, where it ceases to form the boundary between 
the two countries, from, to and into the sea, shall forever 
remain free and open for the purposes of commerce to the 
citizens of the United States, subject to any laws and regula- 
tions of Great Britain or of the Dominion of Canada not 
inconsistent with such privileges of free navigation/ There- 
fore, lest it might be argued that, as at the time the treaty was 
made, it was known that, for the purpose of ascent, the river 
could not be overcome in its natural course, the provision 
granting the right of ascent must be held to include the navi- 
gation of the canals, through which alone the ascent could be 
made, the next clause provides and specifies that these 
canals are especially within the control of Canada and the 
Canadian Government, and prevents any inference being 
drawn from the language of the preceding article. I know, 
sir, that there has been, in some of the newspapers, a sneer cast 
upon the latter paragraph of that article, which gives the 
United States the free use of the St. Lawrence, — I refer to 
that part of the article which gives to Canadians the free navi- 
gation of the rivers Yukon, Porcupine and Stikine. 

Honourable Mr. Mackenzie — “ Hear, hear.” 

Honourable Sir John A. Macdonald — “ My honourable 
friend again says ‘ hear, hear/ I hope that he will hear, and 
perhaps he will hear something he does not know. (Hear, 
hear). I may tell my honourable friend that the navigation 
of the River Yukon is a growing trade, and that the Ameri- 
cans are now sending vessels and are fitting out steamers 
for the navigation of the Yukon. I will tell my honour- 
able friend that at this moment United States vessels are 
going up that river and are underselling the Hudson’s Bay 
people in their own country, (hear, hear), and it is a matter 
of the very greatest importance to the Western country that 
the navigation of these rivers should be open to the com- 
merce of British subjects, and that access should be had by 
means of these rivers, so that there is no necessity at all 
for the ironical cheer of my honourable friend. Sir, I am 
not unaware that under an old treaty entered into between 
Russia and England, the former granted to the latter the free 

The Navigation of the St. Lawrence. 


navigation of these streams, and the free navigation of 
all the streams in Alaska. But that was a treaty between 
Russia and England, and although it may be argued, and 
would be argued by England, that when the United States 
tt>ok that country from Russia it took it with all its obliga- 
tions ; yet, Mr. Speaker, there are two sides to that question. 
The United States, I venture to say, would hang an argu- 
ment upon it, and I can only tell my honourable friend that 
the officers of the United States have exercised authority 
in the way of prohibition or obstruction, and have offered the 
pretext that that was a matter which had been settled 
between Russia and England, that the United States now 
had that country, and would deal with it as they chose, and, 
therefore, as this was a treaty to settle all old questions, 
and not to raise new ones, it was well that the free navigation 
of the rivers I have mentioned, should be settled at once 
between England and the United States, as before it had 
been between England and Russia. 

“ Before leaving the question of the St. Lawrence, I will 
make one remark, and will then proceed to another topic, 
and that is, that the article in question does not in any way 
hand over or divide any proprietary rights on the river St. 
Lawrence, or give any sovereignty over it, or confer any 
right whatever, except that of free navigation. Both banks 
belong to Canada — the management, the regulation, the tolls, 
the improvement, all belong to Canada. The only stipula- 
tion made in the treaty is that the United States vessels may 
use the St. Lawrence on as free terms as those of Canadian 
subjects. It is not a transfer of territorial rights — it is simply 
a permission to navigate the river by American vessels, that 
the navigation shall ever remain free and open for the purpose 
of commerce (and only for the purpose of commerce) ‘ to 
citizens of the United States, subject to any laws and regula- 
tions of Great Britain, or of the Dominion of Canada, not 
inconsistent with the privilege of free navigation.’ 

“ Mr. Speaker, I shall now allude to one of the subjects 
included in the treaty, which relate to the navigation of our 
waters, although it was not contemplated in the instructions 

158 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

given to the British Commissioners by Her Majesty’s Govern- 
ment, in fact the subject was scarcely known in England, and 
that is what is known as the St. Clair Flats question. It is 
known that the waters of the River St. Clair and the waters of 
Lake St. Clair divide the two countries ; that the boundary 
line which divides them is provided by treaty ; that the treaty 
of 1842 provides that all the channels and passages between 
the islands lying near the junction of the River St. Clair with 
the Lake, shall be equally free to both nations, so that all 
those channels were made common to both nations, and are so 
now. Canada has made appropriations for the purpose of 
improvement of these waters. There were also appropriations 
made — I forget whether by the United States or by the State 
of Michigan, or by private individuals — for the purpose of 
improving the waters, and the United States made a canal 
in and through the St. Clair Flats. The question then arose 
whether that canal was in Canadian territory, or within that 
of the United States. I have no doubt that the engineering 
officers appointed by the United States to choose the site of 
the canal and to construct it, acted in good faith in choosing 
the site, believing that it was in the United States, and from 
all I can learn, subsequent observations proved that to be the 

Honourable Mr. Mackenzie : “ Hear, hear.” 

Honourable Sir John A. Macdonald : “ My honourable 
friend says ‘ hear, hear/ and I have no doubt he will give us an 
argument, and an able one, too, as he is quite competent to do, 
to show that under the treaty this canal is in Canada. An 
argument might be founded in favour of that view from the 
language of the report of the International Commissioners 
appointed to determine the boundary between the two coun- 
tries, that is, if we looked at the language alone and combined 
with that language the evidence of those accustomed of old to 
navigate those waters. I admit that an argument might be 
based on the language of the report, when it speaks of the old 
ship channel, and that the evidence and statements that have 
been made as to the position of that channel, might have left 
it a matter of doubt whether the canal, or a portion of it, was 

St. Clair Flats. 


within the boundary of Canada, but the Commissioners not 
only made a report, but they added to it a map, to which 
they placed their signatures, and any one reading the report 
with the map, and holding the map as a portion of the report, 
will see that this canal is in the United States. It might, but 
for the Treaty of Washington, have been unfortunate that it 
is so, because it might, perhaps, have impeded the navigation 
of the flats by Canadian vessels. 

“ But the question is whether, under the old treaty, and 
the report and map made according to its provisions (which 
report and map form, in fact, a portion of such treaty) the 
canal is within the United States boundary or not. When the 
point was raised that the map was inconsistent with the 
report, Her Majesty’s Government, I have no doubt under the 
advice of Her Majesty’s legal advisers, said it was a point that 
would not admit of argument, that the two must be taken 
together, and that the map explained and defined the meaning 
of the language of the report. But, sir, ‘ out of the nettle 
danger we pluck the flower safety.’ The House will see by 
looking at the clause I referred to, that it is a matter of no 
consequence whether the canal is in the United States or 
Canada, because for all time to come that canal is to be 
used by the people of Canada on equal terms with the people 
of the United States. In the speech of my honourable friend 
to which I have referred, that canal, he says, is only secured to 
Canada during the ten years mentioned with reference to the 
fishery articles of the treaty. I say it is secured for all time, 
just as the navigation of the St. Lawrence is given for all time. 
The United States have gone to the expense of building the 
canal, and now we have the free use of it. If the United 
States put on a toll there we pay no greater toll than United 
States citizens, and it is of the first and last advantage to the 
commerce of both nations that the deepening of these chan- 
nels should be gone on with ; and I can tell my honourable 
friend, moreover, that in this present Congress there is a 
measure to spend a large additional sum of money on this 
canal out of the revenues of the United States for that object. 
So much for the St. Clair Flats. 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

“ Now, sir, as to some of the advantages to be gained by 
the treaty, I would call the attention of the House to the 29th 
article, which ensures for the whole time of the existence ot 
the treaty, for twelve years at least, the continuance of ‘ the 
bonding system.’ We know how valuable that has been to 
us, how valuable, during the winter months, when we are 
deprived of the use of our own seaports on the St. Lawrence. 
The fact that the American press had occasionally called for 
the abolition of the system is a proof of the boon which they 
considered it to be. They have said at times, when they 
thought an unfriendly feeling existed towards them in Canada, 
that if Canadians would be so bumptious, they should be 
deprived of this system, and allowed to remain cooped up in 
their frozen country. If the United States should ever com- 
mit the folly of injuring their carrying trade by adopting a 
hostile policy in that respect, and they have occasionally, as 
we know, adopted a policy towards us adverse to their com- 
mercial interest, they could have done so before this treaty 
was ratified — they cannot do so now. For twelve years we 
have a right to the bonding system from the United States 
over all their avenues of trade, and long before that time 
expires, I hope we shall have the Canadian Pacific Railway 
reaching to the Pacific Ocean, and with the Intercolonial 
Railway reaching to Halifax, we shall have an uninterrupted 
line from one seaboard to the other. (Cheers). This is one 
of the substantial advantages that Canada has gained by this 

“ Then, sir, the 30th article conveys a most valuable 
privilege to the railways of Canada that are running from one 
part of the country to another, and I must take the occasion 
to say that if this has been pressed upon the consideration of 
the American Government and American Commissioners at 
Washington, during the negotiation, much of the merit is due 
to the honourable member for Lincoln (Mr. Merritt). He it 
was who supplied me with the facts ; he it was who called 
attention to the great wrong to our trade by the Act of 1866 
and impressed by him with the great importance of the 
subject, I was enabled to urge the adoption of this article and 

Privileges to Railways. 


to have it made a portion of the treaty. Now, sir, that this is 
of importance you can see by reading the Buffalo papers. 
Sometime ago they were crying out that the entrance had 
been made by this wedge, which was to ruin their coasting 
trade, and that the whole coasting trade of the lakes was being 
handed over to Canada. Under this clause, if we choose to 
accept it, Canadian vessels can go to Chicago; can take 
American produce from American ports, and can carry it to 
Windsor or Colling wood, or the Welland Railway. That 
same American produce can be sent in bond from those and 
other points along our railways, giving the traffic to our vessels 
by water, and our railways by land, to Lake Ontario, and can 
then be reshipped by Canadian vessels to Oswego, Ogdens- 
burg, or Rochester, or other American ports ; so that this clause 
gives us, in some degree, a relaxation of the extreme, almost 
harsh, exclusive coasting system of the United States (hear), 
and I am quite sure that in this age of railways, and when the 
votes and proceedings show that so many new railway under- 
takings are about to start, this will prove a substantial improve- 
ment on the former state of affairs. There is a provision that 
if, in the exercise of our discretion, we choose to put a differ- 
ential scale of tolls on American vessels passing through our 
canals, and if New Brunswick should continue her export 
duties on lumber passing down the River St. John, the United 
States may withdraw from this arrangement, so that it will be 
hereafter, if the treaty be adopted, and this Act passed, a 
matter for the consideration of the Government of Canada in 
the first place, and of the Legislature in the next, to determine 
whether it is expedient for them to take advantage of this 
boon that is offered to them. As to the expediency of their 
doing so, I have no doubt, and I have no doubt Parliament 
will eagerly seek to gain and establish those rights for our 
ships and railways, (Hear, hear). 

“ The only other subject of peculiar interest to Canada in 
connection with the treaty — the whole of it of course is inter- 
esting to Canada as a part of the Empire, but speaking of 
Canada as such, and of the interest taken in the treaty locally 
— the only other subject is the manner of disposing of the 




The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

San Juan boundary question. That is settled in a way that 
no one can object to. I do not know whether many honour- 
able members have ever studied that question. It is a most 
interesting one, and has long been a cause of controversy 
between the two countries. I am bound to uphold, and I do 
uphold, the British view respecting the channel which forms 
the boundary as the correct one. The United States Govern- 
ment were, I believe, as sincerely convinced of the justice of 
their own case. Both believed they were in the right, both 
were firmly grounded in that opinion ; and such being the 
case, there was only one way out of it, and that was to leave it 
to be settled by impartial arbitration. I think the House will 
admit that no more distinguished arbiter could have been 
selected than the Emperor of Germany. In the examination 
and decision of the question he will have the assistance of as 
able and eminent jurists as any in the world, for there is 
nowhere a more distinguished body than the jurists of Ger- 
many, who are especially familiar with the principles and 
practice of international law. Whatever the decision may be, 
whether for England or against it, you may be satisfied that 
you will get a most learned and careful judgment in the 
matter, to which we must bow if it is against us, and to which 
I am sure the United States will bow if it is against them. 
(Hear, hear). 

“ I think I have now gone through all the articles of inter- 
est connected with Canada, I shall now allude to one omission 
from it, and then I shall have done ; and that is the omission 
of all allusion to the settlement of the Fenian claims. That 
Canada was deeply wronged by those outrages known as the 
Fenian raids is indisputable. England has admitted it, and 
we all feel it. We felt deeply grieved when those raids were 
committed, and the belief was general, in which I must say I 
share, that sufficient vigilance and due diligence were not 
exercised by the American Government to prevent the organ- 
ization, within their territory, of bands of armed men openly 
hostile to a peaceful country, and to put an end to incursions 
by men who carried war over our borders, slew our people and 
destroyed our property. It was therefore proper for us to 

The Fenian Claims. 


press upon England to seek compensation at the hands of the 
American Government for these great wrongs. As a con- 
sequence of our position, as a dependency, we could only do 
it through England. We had no means or authority to do 
it directly ourselves ; and consequently we urged our case 
upon the attention of England and she consented to open 
negotiations with the United States upon the subject. In 
the instructions it is stated that Canada had been invited 
to send in a statement of her claims to England and that 
it had not done so ; and I dare say it will be charged — 
indeed, I have seen it so stated in some of the newspapers — 
that that was an instance of Canadian neglect. Now, it is 
not an instance of Canadian neglect, but an instance of Can- 
adian caution. (Hear, hear). Canada had a right to press 
for the payment of those claims, whatever the amount ; for 
all the money spent to repel those incursions had been taken 
out of the public treasury of Canada and had to be raised 
by the taxation of the country. Not only had they the right 
to press for that amount, but every individual Canadian who 
suffered in person or property because of those raids had a 
right to compensation. 

“It was not for Canada, however, to put a limit to those 
claims, and to state what amount of money would be con- 
sidered as a satisfactory liquidation of them. It has never 
been the case when commissions have been appointed for 
the settlement of such claims to hand in those claims in 
detail before the sitting of the commission. What Canada 
pressed for was that the principle should be established, that 
the demand should be made by England upon the United 
States, that that demand should be acquiesced in, that the 
question of damages should be referred to a tribunal like that 
now sitting at Washington for the investigation of claims 
connected with the civil war in the South, that time should be 
given within which the Canadian Government, as a Govern- 
ment, and every individual Canadian who suffered by those 
outrages, should have an opportunity of filing their claims, 
of putting in an account and of offering proof to establish 
their right to an indemnity. The Canadian Government 

The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

i 66 

carefully avoided, by any statement of their views, the placing 
of a limit upon those claims in advance of examination by 
such a commission ; and I think the House and country will 
agree that we acted with due discretion in that respect. 
(Hear, hear). Now, one of the protocols will show the result 
of the demand for indemnity. The demand was made by 
the British Commissioners that this question should be dis- 
cussed and considered by the commission, but the United 
States Commissioners objected, taking the ground that the 
consideration of these claims was not included in the corres- 
pondence and reference. In doing that they took the same 
ground that my honourable friend the member for Sher- 
brooke, with his usual acuteness and appreciation of the value 
of language, took when the matter was discussed in this 
House before my departure for Washington. He said then 
that he greatly doubted whether, under the correspondence 
which led to the appointment of the High Commission, it 
could be held that the Fenian claims were to be considered ; 
and although my honourable friend the Minister of Militia 
thought it might fairly be held that those claims were in- 
cluded, I myself could not help feeling the strength of the 
argument advanced by the honourable member for Sher- 
brooke, and I stated at the time that I thought there was 
great weight in the objection which he pointed out. 

“ The American Commissioners, as the event proved, 
raised that objection, maintaining that the point was not 
included in the correspondence in which the subjects of delib- 
eration were stated, and when it was proposed to them by the 
British Commissioners, the American Commissioners declined 
to ask their Government for fresh instructions to enlarge the 
scope of their duty in that respect. Now, we could not help 
that. There was the correspondence to speak for itself, and 
it was matter of considerable doubt whether those claims were 
included in it. The British ambassador represented that he 
had always thought that the correspondence did include them, 
and he was struck with surprise — perhaps I ought not to say 
surprise, for that was not the expression he used — but he 
was certainly under the impression that it had been regarded 

The Fenian Claims. 


by all parties that they were covered by the correspond- 
ence. Still, let any one read these letters, and he will find 
it very doubtful. As it was doubtful, and as objection was 
raised on that ground, the British Commissioners had no 
power to compel the American Commissioners to determine 
the doubt in their favour, and force these claims upon their 
consideration. The consequence was that they were omitted 
from the deliberations of the commission. Whose fault was 
that ? Certainly not ours. It was the fault of Her Majesty’s 
Government in not demanding in clear language, in terms 
which could not be misunderstood, that the investigation of 
these claims should be one of the matters dealt with by the 
commission. (Hear, hear). 

“It was a great disappointment to my colleagues in Can- 
ada, that the objection was taken, and that all hope of getting 
redress for the injury done by those Fenian raids was 
destroyed, so far as the commission at Washington was con- 
cerned, in consequence of the defective language of the corres- 
pondence, and the defective nature of the submission to the 
commissioners. Now, England was responsible for that error. 
England had promised to make the demand, and England 
had failed to make it. Not only that, but her Majesty’s Gov- 
ernment took the responsibility of withdrawing the claims 
altogether, and Mr. Gladstone fully assumed all the responsi- 
bility of this step, and relieved the Canadian Government from 
any share in it, when he stated openly in the House of Com- 
mons that the Imperial Government had seen fit to withdraw 
the claims, but that they had done so with great reluctance and 
sorrow for the manner in which Canada had been treated. 
Canada, therefore, had every right to look to England for that 
satisfaction which she failed to receive through the inade- 
quacy of the correspondence to cover the question. England, 
by taking the responsibility of declining to push the claims, 
put herself in the position of the United States, and we had a 
fair and reasonable right to look to her to assume the respon- 
sibility of settling them. She did not decline that responsi- 
bility, and the consequence has been that, although we failed 
to obtain redress from the United States for those wrongs, we 

1 68 

The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

have had an opportunity of securing compensation from Eng- 
land, which would not have been offered to us if it had not been 
for the steps taken by this Government. (Hear, hear). 

“ But, sir, we are told that it is a great humiliation for 
Canada to take this money, or rather this money’s worth. 
Why, it is our due. We are entitled to it, and we must 
have it from * some one. England refused to ask it for us 
from the United States, and she accepted all the responsi- 
bility which that refusal involved. She was wise in accepting 
that responsibility ; she must take the consequences, and she 
is willing to do so. But the Canadian Government, on the 
other hand, were unwilling that the compensation which Eng- 
land thus acknowledged was due to us by her should take a 
direct pecuniary form. We were unwilling that it should be 
the payment of a certain amount of money, and there were 
several strong reasons why we should prefer not to accept 
reparation in that shape. In the first place, if a proposal of 
that kind were made, it would cause a discussion as to the 
amount to be paid by England, of a most unseemly character. 
We would have the spectacle of a judge appointed to examine 
the claims in detail, with Canada pressing her case upon his 
attention, and England probably resisting in some cases, and 
putting herself in an antagonistic position, which should not 
be allowed to occur between the mother country and the 
colony. It was, therefore, in the last degree unadvisable that 
the relations between Canada and the mother country, which 
throughout have been of so friendly and pleasant a character, 
should be placed in jeopardy in that way ; and, accordingly, 
a suggestion was made by us which, without causing England 
to expend a sixpence, or putting the least additional burden 
upon her people, would, if acted upon, do us more good, and 
prove of infinitely greater advantage than any amount of mere 
money compensation we could reasonably expect. This was 
a mode of disposing of the question in the highest degree 
satisfactory to both countries, and one which does not in the 
least compromise our dignity or our self-respect. (Hear, hear). 

“ The credit of Canada, thank God, is well-established ; 
her good faith is known wherever she has had financial deal- 

The Fenian Claims. 

i 69 

ings. Her Majesty’s Government can go to the House 
of Commons and ask for authority to guarantee a Canadian 
loan with a well-grounded assurance that the people of Eng- 
land will never be called upon to put their hands in their 
pockets or tax themselves one farthing to pay it. (Cheers). 
At the same time the Imperial Government, by giving us this 
guarantee, grants us a boon the value of which, in enabling us 
to construct the great works of public improvement we have 
undertaken, was explained the other day so ably and in 
a manner that I would not attempt to imitate, by my honour- 
able friend the Finance Minister. Besides the double advan- 
tage to ourselves in getting the endorsement of England with- 
out disadvantage to the English people, there is to be con- 
sidered the great, the enormous benefit that accrues to Canada 
from this open avowal on the part of England of the interest 
she takes in the success of our great public enterprises. 
(Cheers). No one can say now when she is sending out one 
of her distinguished statesmen to take the place of the noble- 
man who now so worthily represents Her Majesty in the 
Dominion ; no one can say when England is aiding us by 
endorsing a loan, spreading over so many years, and which 
will not be finally extinguished till most of us now here will 
have been gathered to our fathers ; no one can say under 
these circumstances, she has any idea of separating herself 
from us and giving up the colonies. (Cheers). 

“ The solid substantial advantage of being able to obtain 
money on better terms than we could on our own credit alone, 
is not the only benefit this guarantee will confer upon us ; 
for it will put a finish at once to the hopes of all dreamers 
or speculators who desire or believe in the alienation and 
separation of the colonies from the mother country. That 
is a more incalculable benefit than the mere advantage of 
England’s guarantee of our financial stability, great and 
important as that is. (Loud cheers). Aye, but it is 
said that it is a humiliation to make a bargain of this 
kind. Why, sir, it was no humiliation in 1841 to obtain 
an Imperial guarantee for the loan necessary to construct the 
canals originally. It was not considered a humiliation to 

1 70 

The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

accept a guarantee for ;£ 1,400, 000 in 1865 for the purpose of 
building fortifications, nor was it a humiliation to obtain 
.£4,000,000 upon a similar guarantee to construct the Inter- 
colonial Railway. Why is it a humiliation then, in this case, 
to accept the guarantee when England voluntarily comes 
forward and accepts the responsibility for withdrawing our 
claims in respect to the Fenian raids ? It was by no prompt- 
ing from us that that responsibility was assumed, for Mr. 
Gladstone rose of his own motion in the House of Commons, 
and by accepting the responsibility admitted that it should 
take a tangible shape. It did take such a shape, and I say a 
most satisfactory shape in the guarantee of £2,500,000 
immediately, and we may say £4,000,000 in all, ultimately. 

“ But I hear it objected that Canada ought not to have 
made a bargain at all. She should have allowed the Fenian 
claims to go, and dealt with the treaty separately, accepting 
or rejecting it on its merits. Sir, Canada did not make a 
bargain of that kind, but she went fairly and openly to Her 
Majesty’s Government and said : ‘ Here is a treaty that has 
been negotiated through your influence, and which affects 
important commercial interests in this country. It is unpopu- 
lar in Canada in its commercial aspect, but it is urged on us 
for Imperial causes, and for the sake of the peace of the 
Empire; but the pecuniary interests of Canada should, in the 
opinion of the Canadian Government, be considered, and the 
undoubted claim of Canada for compensation for these Fenian 
outrages has been set aside. We may well, therefore, call 
upon you to strengthen our hands by showing that you are 
unwilling to sacrifice Canada altogether for Imperial purposes 
solely.’ Sir, we asked that for Canada, and the response was 
immediate and gratifying, except that England did not accept 
the whole of our proposition to guarantee a loan of £4,000,000. 
But I am as certain as I am standing in this House, and I am 
not speaking without book, that had it not been for the 
unfortunate cloud that arose between the United States and 
England, which threatened to interrupt the friendly settlement 
of all questions between them, but which, I am now happy to 

The Guaranteed Loan. 


say, is passing away, the difficulty would have been removed 
by England permitting us to add to the ^2,500,000,^1,400- 
000 which she guaranteed some years since to be expended on 
fortifications and other defensive preparations. That money 
had not been expended, and there would now have [been no 
object in applying it for the construction of works which 
would have been a standing menace to the United States, and 
which would have been altogether out of place immediately 
after signing a treaty of peace and amity. 

“ I do not hesitate to say, and I repeat I am not speaking 
without book, that I believe a proposition of that kind would 
have been acceptable to Her Majesty’s Government, but when 
the cloud arose ; when there was a possibility of this treaty 
being held as a nullity, and when there was danger of the 
relations between the two countries returning to the unfortunate 
position in which they were before — then was not the time for 
England to ask us, or for us to propose to give up the idea of 
fortifying our frontier, and defending our territory. Then was 
not the time either for the Canadian Government to show 
an unwillingness to spend money upon these works, or to 
defend and retain the Dominion as a dependency of the 
Sovereign of England (cheers). I say, therefore, that while we 
are actually receiving a guarantee of ^2,500,000, if the 
relations of England and the United States are again 
brought into harmony, and the lowering cloud which 
recently sprung up is removed, and removed in such a way 
as never to appear again, then it may fairly be thought, it 
may reasonably be calculated upon, that we will have a 
guarantee of the full amount of £ 4 ., 000, 000, in order to carry 
out the great improvements we have entered upon. The 
Finance Minister has shewn you the advantages which will 
flow from that arrangement, and it would be presumption 
in me to add a word to what he so well said upon that point 
which was in the highest degree satisfactory to this House 
and in the highest degree also satisfactory to the people of 
the country. 

“ I shall now move the first reading of this Bill, and I 
shall simply sum up my remarks by saying that with respect 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

to the treaty I consider that every portion of it is unobjection- 
able to the country, unless the articles connected with the 
fisheries may be considered objectionable. With respect to 
those articles, I ask this House fully and calmly to consider 
the circumstances, and I believe, if they fully consider the 
situation, that they will say it is for the good of Canada 
that those articles should be ratified. Reject the treaty, and 
you do not get reciprocity ; reject the treaty, and you leave 
the fishermen of the Maritime Provinces at the mercy of the 
Americans ; reject the treaty, and you will cut off the merchants 
engaged in that trade from the American market. Reject 
the treaty and you will have a large annual expenditure in 
keeping up a marine police force to protect those fisheries, 
amounting to about $84,000 per annum. Reject the treaty, 
and you will have to call upon England to send her fleet and 
give you both her moral and physical support, although you 
will not adopt her policy ; reject the treaty, and you will find 
that the bad feeling which formerly and until lately existed 
in the United States against England will be transferred to 
Canada: that the United States will say, and say justly, 
‘ Here, when two nations like England and the United States 
have settled all their differences and all their quarrels upon 
a perpetual basis, these happy results are to be frustrated and 
endangered by the Canadian people, because they have not 
got the value of their fish for ten years.’ (Cheers). 

“It has been said by the honourable gentleman on my 
left (Mr. Howe) in his speech to the Young Men’s Christian 
Association, that England had sacrificed the interests of 
Canada. If England has sacrificed the interests of Canada, 
what sacrifice has she not made in the cause of peace between 
those two great nations, rendered herself liable, leaving out 
all indirect claims, to pay millions out of her own treasury? 
Has she not made all this sacrifice, which only Englishmen 
and English statesmen can know, for the sake of peace — 
and for whose sake has she made it ? Has she not made 
it principally for the sake of Canada ? (Loud cheers). Let 
Canada be severed from England — let England not be respon- 
sible to us, and for us, and what could the United States 

Consequences of Rejecting the Treaty. 173 

do to England ? Let England withdraw herself into her shell, 
and what can the United States do? England has got the 
supremacy of the sea — she is impregnable in every point but 
one, and that point is Canada ; and if England does call 
upon us to make a financial sacrifice ; does find it for the 
good of the Empire that we, England’s first colony, should 
sacrifice something, I say that we would be unworthy of our 
proud position if we were not prepared to do so. (Cheers). 
I hope to live to see the day, and, if I do not, that my son 
may be spared to see Canada the right arm of England, 
(cheers) to see Canada a powerful auxiliary to the Empire, 
not as now a cause of anxiety and a source of danger. And 
I think that if we are worthy to hold that position as the 
right arm of England, we should not object to a sacrifice 
of this kind when so great an object is attained, and the 
object is a great and lasting one. 

“ It is said that amities between nations cannot be perpet- 
ual. But I say that this treaty which has gone through so 
many difficulties and dangers, if it is carried into effect, 
removes almost all possibility of war. If ever there was an 
irritating cause of war, it was from the occurrences arising out 
of the escape of those vessels, and when we see the United 
States people and Government forget this irritation, forget 
those occurrences, and submit such a question to arbitration, 
to the arbitration of a disinterested tribunal, they have estab- 
lished a principle which can never be forgotten in this world. 
No future question is ever likely to arise that will cause such 
irritation as the escape of the Alabama did, and if they could 
be got to agree to leave such a matter to the peaceful arbitra- 
ment of a friendly power, what future cause of quarrel can, in 
the imagination of man, occur that will not bear the same 
pacific solution that is sought for in this. I believe that this 
treaty is an epoch in the history of civilization, that it will 
set an example to the wide world that must be followed ; 
and with the growth of the great Anglo-Saxon family, and 
with the development of that mighty nation to the south of 
us, I believe that the principle of arbitration will be advocated 
and adopted as the sole principle of settlement of differences 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

between the English speaking peoples, and that it will have a 
moral influence in the world. And although it may be 
opposed to the antecedents of other nations that great moral 
principle which has now been established among the Anglo- 
Saxon family, will spread itself over all the civilized world 
(Cheers). It is not too much to say that it is a great advance 
in the history of mankind, and I should be sorry if it were 
recorded that it was stopped for a moment by a selfish con- 
sideration of the interests of Canada. 

“ Had the Government of Canada taken the course, which 
was quite open to them, to recommend Parliament to reject 
those articles, it might have been a matter of some interest, as 
to what my position would have been. I am here at all events 
advocating the ratification of the treaty, and, I may say, not- 
withstanding the taunts of the honourable gentlemen opposite, 
that although I was chosen for the position of a Commissioner 
certainly because I was a Canadian, and presumably because 
I was a member of the Canadian Government, yet my com- 
mission was given to me as a British subject, as it was to Sir 
Stafford Northcote and other members of the Commission. I 
went to Washington as a Plenipotentiary, as Her Majesty’s 
servant, and was bound by Her Majesty’s instructions, and I 
would have been guilty of dereliction of duty if I had not car- 
ried out those instructions. And, sir, when I readily joined, 
under the circumstances, in every word of that treaty with the 
exception of the fishery articles, and when I succeeded in 
having inserted in the treaty a reservation to the Government 
and the people of Canada of the full right to accept or refuse 
that portion of it, I had no difficulty as to my course. 
(Cheers). I did not hesitate to state that if that clause had 
not been put in, I would have felt it necessary to resign my 

“ I was perfectly aware in taking the course I did in sign- 
ing the treaty, that I should be subject to reproach. I wrote 
to my friends in Canada from Washington that well I knew 
the storm of obloquy that would meet me on my return, and 
before even I crossed the border I was complimented with the 
names of Judas Iscariot, Benedict Arnold, etc. The whole voca- 

The Course Pursued. 


bulary of Billingsgate was opened against me, but here I am, 
thank God, to-day, with the conviction that what I did was for 
the best interests of Canada ; and after all the benefits I have 
received at the hands of my countrymen, and after the confi- 
dence that has been accorded me for so many years, I would 
have been unworthy of that position and that confidence if I 
were not able to meet reproach for the sake of my country- 
men. (Cheers). I have met that reproach, and I have met it 
in silence. I knew that a premature discussion would only 
exasperate still more the feelings of those who were arrayed 
against me, and of those who think more of their party than 
their country. (Loud cheers). I do not speak particularly of 
the honourable gentlemen opposite, but I say that the policy 
of the Opposition is regulated by a power behind the throne, 
which dictates what that policy must be. (Cheers). No one 
ever saw a patriotic policy emanate from that source, except 
on one occasion, and that was when that source was induced 
by myself to forget party struggles and party feelings for the 
common good of the country. (Cheers). 

“ I have not said a word for twelve months ; I have kept 
silence to this day, thinking better that the subject should be 
discussed on its own merits. How eagerly was I watched ! 
If the Government should come out in favour of the treaty, 
then it was to be taken as being a betrayal of the people 
of Canada. If the Government should come out against 
the treaty, then the first Minister was to be charged with 
opposing the interests of the Empire. Which ever course 
we might take, they were lying in wait, ready with some mode 
of attack. But ‘ silence is golden,’ Mr. Speaker, and I kept 
silence. I believe the sober second thought of this country 
accords with the sober second thought of the Government, 
and we come down here and ask the people of Canada, 
through their representatives, to accept this treaty, to accept 
it with all its imperfections, to accept it for the sake of peace, 
and for the sake of the great Empire of which we form a part. 
I now beg leave to introduce the Bill, and to state that I have 
the permission of His Excellency to do so.” 

Sir John Macdonald resumed his seat at 9.45 p.m., after hav- 

176 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

mg spoken for four hours and a quarter, amid loud and con- 
tinued applause from all parts of the House. 

The debate in the Commons lasted until the morning of 
the 17th, during which time forty-six members of the House 
delivered speeches, and Mr. Blake and Mr. Bodwell proposed 
amendments. Both were voted down, and Sir John’s motion 
for the second reading of the Bill was carried, the division 
lists showing 121 for and 55 against. The Government policy 
was nobly sustained, each province of the Confederation show- 
ing a majority in its favour. 



The Pacific Railway — Sir George Cartier’s Resolutions, April, 1872 — Mr. Mac- 
Kenzie’s Opposition— Arrival of Lord Dufferin — Dissolution of Parliament — 
General Election — Admission of Prince Edward Island — The Pacific Railway 
Slander — Mr. Huntingdon’s Resolutions — Sir John Macdonald’s Motion for a 
Special Committee — Reports of the Committee — The Oath’s Bill — Publication 
of Letters — Sir Hugh Allan’s Affidavit — Adjournment to August 13th — 
Memorial of the Opposition — Lord Dufferin’s reply — Prorogation — Sir John 
Macdonald’s position — The Royal Commission — Meeting of Parliament — Mr. 
Mackenzie’s Amendment to the Address — Sir John’s Speech — Resignation of 
the Ministry — The Stolen Letters — Character of the Witnesses against the 
Ministry — The Mackenzie Government — Dissolution of Parliament — General 
Elections — Meeting of new Parliament, March 1874 — Pacific Railway Reso- 
lutions — Other Bills — Prorogation. 

T HE principal subject of discussion during the session 
was the building of the Pacific Railway. During the 
year 1871 two companies were formed for this purpose, one 
called the Canada Pacific Railway Company, being under the 
presidency of Sir Hugh Allan ; the other called the Inter- 
Oceanic Railway Company, being under the presidency of 
Honourable David Macpherson. The former was essentially 
a Quebec company, the latter an Ontario company, and an 
intense rivalry ensued. Each company obtained a charter, 
the terms being the same, namely, that the capital should be 
$10,000,000 in $100 shares, and that the company should not 
be considered organized until $1,000,000 had been paid in. 

“ Under the circumstances it was a difficult matter for the 
Government to deal with either, and therefore it was deter- 
mined to pass a general Act, giving the Governor in Council 
power to treat with one or the other, or with the two amalga- 
mated, or failing a satisfactory arrangement, to grant a charter 
to a new company. 

On April 26, 1872, Sir George Cartier moved the House 
into Committee of the Whole on the question. He explained 
that the terms of Union with British Columbia required that 
the road should be commenced within two years, and finished 
within ten. That the Government desired power to enter into 
an agreement with a company to construct the road, or, if one 
vol 11. 1 77 12 


178 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

company could not undertake the whole road, then with 
several companies for different parts. As the company could 
not be expected to build without assistance, it was proposed 
to give them 50,000,000 acres of land in alternate blocks, 
twenty miles square on each side of the line — the alternate 
blocks reserved being held for sale by the Government — and 
a cash subsidy of about $30,000,000. 

Mr. Alexander Mackenzie objected to the proposition 
stating his conviction that it was impossible to con- 
struct the road within the time mentioned, and that the 
two companies were merely “ rings ” looking for plunder. On 
the authority of persons he considered competent to judge, he 
maintained that there were not more than 45,000,000 to 
65,000,000 acres of good land in the North-West, and that 
after the proposed quantity had been given to the company, 
there would be little left for settlement. The powers proposed 
to be conferred on the Government he considered extravagant 
and dangerous, and that, if the resolutions were passed, the 
House would be abdicating its functions, and leaving to the 
Government matters over which it should retain control. He 
moved amendments embodying his views as also did other 
members of the Opposition, but the resolutions, with some 
slight changes, were carried by a large majority. 

On the second reading of the Bill, Mr. Mackenzie said that 
he desired to get an expression of opinion from the House on 
the subject of the land policy therein expressed. He con- 
sidered that actual settlers ought to be allowed to enter upon 
any of the blocks of land along the railway whether they were 
reserved for the company or for the Government, and moved, 
seconded by Mr. Dorion: 

“ That the Bill be referred back to the Committee of the 
Whole, with instructions so to amend the same as to provide 
that actual settlers may enter upon any sold or unsold lands, 
belonging either to the company to be entrusted with the 
construction of the railway, or to the Government in the 
alternate blocks reserved, on terms and conditions to be 
made ; which terms and conditions should be subject to the 
approval of Parliament ; and, further to provide that nothing 

Arrival of Lord Dufferin.. 

i 79 

therein contained shall prevent provision being made for 
setting apart a portion of the land reserved by the Govern- 
ment, in the alternate blocks or elsewhere, as free grants to 
actual settlers.” 

In reply, Sir John Macdonald said that Mr. Mackenzie 
had first objected to the road, because the country was not 
able to afford it, and now wanted to take away the best 
security the country had to offer for the building of the road. 
It was all nonsense to suppose that the people of Canada were 
going to build the road for the comfort and convenience of 
emigrants from the old country ; there was plenty of land 
outside the twenty-mile belt which could be given free to set- 
tlers, but this belt was looked on as the principal means of 
paying for the construction of the road, and it was ridiculous 
to propose to give it away. 

The amendment was lost on division. Yeas, 33 ; nays, 
101. Other amendments were also lost, and the Bill passed 
through its second and third readings. 

The last session of the first Parliament closed on June 14, 
1872, when Lord Lisgar bade farewell to Canada and was 
succeeded by the Earl of Dufferin, who arrived on the 25th. 

Lord Dufferin belongs to an old Irish family, and was born 
at Florence on June 21, 1826. He was educated at Eton and 
Oxford, and succeeded to the title in 1841,, when only fifteen 
years of age. In 1849 he was appointed a Lord in Waiting 
to the Queen, which he held under Lord John Russell’s 
Administration until 1852, and again filled the same office from 
1854 to 1858, on the return of his party to power. In 1850 
he was created an English baron, and took his seat in the 
House of Lords as Lord Clandeboye. In 1855 he accom- 
panied Lord John Russell, as an attache ’ to his special mission 
to Vienna, and displayed such administrative ability, that, in 
i860, he was appointed by Lord Palmerston, British Commis- 
sioner to Syria, to enquire into the massacres of Christians 
which had been taking place, a task which he accomplished 
with so much satisfaction to the Government that he was 
made K.C.B. for his services. In 1864 he was made Lord 
Lieutenant of the County Down, and the same year took the 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

position of Under-Secretary of State for India, which he held 
until 1866, when he became Under-Secretary of State for 
War. In the same year he was offered the Governorship of 
Bombay, but declined. On the return of the Liberal party to 
power, in December, 1868, he was appointed Chancellor of 
the Duchy of Lancaster and Paymaster, which he retained 
until his appointment as Governor-General of Canada. 

Shortly after the close of the session the Honourable 
Alex. Morris was appointed Chief Justice of Manitoba, and 
was succeeded as Minister of Inland Revenue by the Honour- 
able Charles Tupper, whose place as President of the Council 
was filled by the appointment of Honourable John O’Connor, 
M.P. for Essex. 

Parliament was dissolved by proclamation on July 15th 
and writs for a new election issued, returnable on September 

In Kingston Sir John Macdonald was opposed by Mr. 
John Carruthers, a wealthy retired merchant, who was 
regarded as the strongest man the Reform party could bring 
forward. The contest was waged with great energy and bit- 
terness, and on polling day the excitement was intense. In 
spite of the most strenuous efforts of his opponents, Sir John 
was returned by a majority of 131. 

In other parts of the Dominion, elections were carried on 
with great vigour, the result being that the Government lost 
strength in Ontario, gained in the Maritime Provinces, and 
remained about the same in Quebec. 

Sir Francis Hincks having retired on account of failing 
health, was succeeded as Finance Minister by the Honourable 
S. L. Tilley. 

The first session of the second Parliament opened on 
March 5, 1873, when the Honourable P. J. O. Chauveau was 
appointed Speaker of the Senate, and Honourable James 
Cockburn was elected without opposition as Speaker of the 
House of Commons. 

On May 16th, a message was received from His Excel- 
lency forwarding the papers in connection with the proposed 
admission of Prince Edward Island into the Union ; and, on 

The Pacific Railway Scandal. 

i 8 i 

the 20th, Honourable Mr. Tilley introduced a series of resolu- 
tions on which to base addresses to Her Majesty, praying for 
the union of the island with the Dominion. He explained 
that the total expense would be about $480,000, and the 
receipts, calculated upon those of the preceeding year, about 
$441,000. The Address was adopted and a Bill, providing for 
the admission of the island, introduced and passed. 

But the momentous event that occurred during the session 
was that in connection with what is now known as the Pacific 
Railway Scandal. After the close of the session of 1872 an 
effort had been made to form an amalagamation between the 
two companies, known as the Canada Pacific and the Oceanic 
Railway Companies. A difficulty arose, however, as to the 
presidency, which Sir Hugh Allan wished to have guaranteed 
to himself, and the other company would not yield, desiring 
it to be left to the directors to decide. The Government did 
not care to favour one more than the other, and thereupon a 
new company was formed called the Canadian Pacific Railway 
Company, to which a charter was granted by letters patent 
on February 5, 1873, the promoters being Sir Hugh Allan ? 
Montreal ; Honourable A. G. Archibald, Halifax ; Honour- 
able J. C. Beaubien, Quebec ; J. B. Beaudry, Montreal ; E. R. 
Burpee, St. John ; F. W. Cumberland, Toronto ; Sandford 
Fleming, Ottawa ; R. N. Hall, Sherbrooke ; Honourable J. S. 
Helmcken, Victoria ; A. McDermot, Winnipeg ; D. Mclnnes, 
Hamilton ; Walter Shanly, Montreal ; John Walker, London. 

The capital of the new company was fixed at $10,000,000, 
in $100 shares, which was not transferable for six years 
without the consent of the Dominion Government and the 
directors. Ten per cent, was to be at once paid up and 
deposited with the Receiver-General. Work was to be 
commenced at both ends simultaneously by July 20, 1873, and 
completed by 1881. The land grant was to be 50,000,000 acres, 
in alternate blocks of the same size, as reserved by the Govern- 
ment. The land thus retained by the Government to be held 
for twenty years at an upset price of $2.50 per acre. The 
money subsidy to be $30,000,000 less any expense the Govern- 
ment had been put to for surveys. 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

The terms were generally considered as satisfactory, and 
much gratification was felt at the manner in which the stock 
had been distributed all over the Dominion, and the provision 
that it was not transferable for six years, which prevented the 
possibility of the road falling into the hands of capitalists in 
the United States. 

On April 2nd, Mr. Huntingdon, from his place in Parlia- 
ment, made the following charges against the Ministry : 

“ That in anticipation of the legislation of last session as 
to the Pacific Railway, an agreement was made between Sir 
Hugh Allan, acting for himself and certain other Canadian 
promoters, and G. W. McMullen, acting for certain United 
States capitalists, whereby the latter agreed to furnish all the 
funds necessary for the construction of the contemplated rail- 
way, and to give the former a certain percentage of interest, in 
consideration of their interest and position, the scheme agreed 
on being ostensibly that of a Canadian company, with Sir 
Hugh Allan at its head. 

“ That the Government were aware that negotiations were 
pending between these parties. 

“ That subsequently an understanding was come to 
between the Government and Sir Hugh Allan and Mr. Abbott, 
M.P., that Sir Hugh Allan and his friends should advance a 
large sum of money for the purpose of aiding the elections of 
Ministers and their supporters at the ensuing general election, 
and that he and his friends should receive the contract for the 
construction of the railway. 

“ That, accordingly, Sir Hugh Allan did advance a large 
sum of money for the purpose mentioned, and at the solicita- 
tion, and under the pressing instances of Ministers. 

“ That part of the monies expended by Sir Hugh Allan in 
connection with the obtaining of the Act of Incorporation and 
Charter, were paid to him by the said United States capitalists 
under the agreement with him ; it is 

“ Ordered, that a committee of seven members be appointed 
to enquire into all the circumstances connected with the nego- 
tiations for the construction of the Pacific Railway, with the 
legislation of last session on the subject, and with the granting 

Mr. Huntingdon’s Resolutions. 

i 8 

of the charter to Sir Hugh Allan and others ; with power to 
send for persons, papers, and records ; and with instructions 
to report in full the evidence taken before, and all proceedings 
of, said committee.” 

The motion was read by Mr. Huntingdon without any 
preface or remarks, and was received by the House in dead 
silence. A division was called for, and the motion was lost by 
a vote of 76 to 107. 

The charges, however, made a profound sensation in the 
House and in the country, and Sir John Macdonald, recogniz- 
ing the necessity of meeting them at once, on the following 
day addressed the House in these words : 

“ Mr. Speaker, I beg to give notice that I will, on Tuesday 
next, ask that the House shall appoint a Special Committee 
of five, to be selected by the House for the purpose of 
considering the subjects mentioned in the motion of the 
honourable member for Shefford, yesterday. The Committee 
shall be drawn by the House, and, if need be, shall have 
special power given to them to sit in recess, and, if need 
be, a Royal Commission shall be issued for the purpose 
of giving them additional powers.” 

On April 8th, Sir John Macdonald made the motion, 
of which he had given notice, and, in doing so, explained that 
the Government had voted down the motion of Mr. Hunting- 
don, not because they were afraid of enquiry, but because they 
took the motion as one of want of confidence. The Govern- 
ment courted the fullest enquiry, and were- prepared to 
do anything in their power to facilitate the work of the Com- 
mittee. The members of the Committee appointed by the 
House were Messrs. Blanchet, Blake, Dorion, McDonald 
(Pictou), Cameron (Cardwell). 

On April 17th, the Honourable J. H. Cameron, Chairman 
of the Committee, presented the first report of the Committee, 
recommending that a Bill be introduced empowering the 
Committee to examine witnesses under oath. This Bill passed 
the House on the 21st, the Senate on the 29th, and received 
His Excellency’s assent on May 3rd. On May 5th Mr. 
Cameron presented another report, covering a series of resolu- 

1 84 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

tions, to the effect that, owing to the absence in England 
of Sir George Cartier and Mr. J. J. C. Abbott — both material 
witnesses to the investigation — the Committee should adjourn 
until July 2nd, if Parliament should then be in session ; that 
the proceedings of the meeting should be secret ; that the 
Committee should be empowered to sit at such place or places 
as may be found expedient. That part respecting the secrecy 
of the meetings was not pressed, and the balance came up for 
discussion on May 6th, on the motion of Mr. Cameron 
to adopt the resolutions. The debate that ensued was very 
acrimonious, and resulted in an amendment being moved by 
the Honourable A. A. Dorion, which, after reciting the 
original motion of Mr. Huntingdon, went on as follows : 

“ That since the appointment of the Committee, when the 
unanimous feeling of the House was, that the enquiry should 
be actively prosecuted during the present session, nothing had 
occurred to justify the proposed adjournment of the Com- 
mittee to July 2nd ; but, on the contrary, the interests cf the 
country imperatively demand that the enquiry should be pros- 
ecuted without further delay.” 

Lost on division — yeas 76 ; nays 107. 

On May 1 5th Mr. Huntingdon made some further state- 
ments and attempted to read extracts from some letters, but 
was ruled out of order by the Speaker. He then moved that 
inasmuch as he was credibly informed that certain original 
documents, of the utmost importance in proving the charges 
made by him, were in the hands of a trustee under circum- 
stances which rendered it exceedingly doubtful wdiether they 
might not be placed beyond the reach of the Committee before 
it met again on July 2nd, the Committee be ordered to meet 
at eleven o’clock next morning, when he (Mr. Huntingdon) 
would disclose the name of the trustee with a view to having 
him summoned to produce all documents in his possession 
relating to the enquiry. The motion was adopted. 

The next day, Mr. Cameron’s motion to permit the Com- 
mittee to sit, even though the House was not sitting, was 
carried by a vote of 10 1 to 66. 

It being the rule that when Parliament is prorogued all 


Disallowance of the Oath’s Bill. 


committees expire with it, to overcome the difficulty, 011 May 
21st, Sir John Macdonald moved “That when the House 
adjourns on Friday next, it do stand adjourned until Wednes- 
day, August 13th, next,” which was carried without discussion. 
On the 23rd His Excellency gave assent to all the Bills passed 
during the session, and Parliament adjourned. Before doing 
so, Sir John replied to a question from Mr. Mackenzie that 
the meeting would only be pro forma to receive the report of 
the Committee, which could then be printed and distributed 
during recess, and that he did not think it would be necessary 
for any more than the two Speakers to be present as no 
business would be transacted. Mr. Holton thought that it 
would be necessary for a quorum of the House to be present, 
to which Sir John answered that if so, a sufficient number 
could be got in the neighbourhood of Ottawa without bringing 
members from a distance. 

When the Bill, giving the Committee power to take 
evidence under oath, came before the Imperial Government, 
they decided that it was beyond the power of the Canadian 
Parliament to enact such a measure, and it was accordingly 
disallowed. This was made known on July 1st by an extra 
of the Canada Gazette. On the Committee assembling next 
day Mr. Cameron announced this fact, and a motion by Mr. 
McDonald (Picton), to the effect “ that, inasmuch as the 
House had instructed the Committee to take evidence on oath 
and the Bill authorizing them to do so had been disallowed, 
the Committee could not proceed without further instructions 
from the House,” was carried. Immediately after the adjourn- 
ment Mr. Cameron read a letter addressed to him, as chair- 
man of the Committee, by Sir John Macdonald, offering to 
issue a Royal Commission to the members of the Committee 
if they would continue their labours, the Commission being 
instructed to report to the House. This offer was declined 
by Messrs. Dorion and Blake, and the Committee adjourned 
until August 13th. 

On the morning of July 4th a profound sensation was 
created in the country by the simultaneous publication in the 
Toronto Globe and Montreal Herald of seventeen letters and 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

three telegrams addressed by Sir Hugh Allan to Messrs. C. 
M. Smith, G. W. McMullen and other American capitalists, 
which disclosed the fact that, in spite of the opposition of the 
Government, he had for a long time retained his connection 
with these men and was most anxious to continue to do so, 
and had spent a large sum of money in the furtherance of the 
interests of his company and proposed giving away the 
enormous amount of $850,000 of stock to certain gentlemen 
mentioned in his letter, and spending the further sum of 
$100,000 in cash in a manner not disclosed, but for which he 
“ cou’d not get receipts/ 5 The letters were evidently intended 
as confidential and were written in that free and unre- 
strained manner that men may be expected to adopt when 
communicating with others in whom they repose unlimited 
confidence as men of honour. 

The letters were commented upon by the Globe in very 
strong language, and the extreme view given “ that the man 
who occupies the position of First Minister is hopelessly involved 
in an infamous and corrupt conspiracy. 55 So far from any 
such fact being disclosed by the letters, the very contrary 
opinion would be formed by any person reading them in an 
impartial and judicial manner. In the whole seventeen letters 
his name appears but three times, once with regard to an 
appointment to meet him, a second time with regard to a 
coolness which Sir Hugh thought had sprung up between him 
and Sir George Cartier, and a third time when Sir Hugh 
informed Mr. McMullen that Sir John and Sir George Cartier 
had long ago made up their minds not to give the charter 
either to his company or to Mr. D. L. Macpherson’s, but to 
form another company and have the work done under Govern- 
ment control. 

Sir Hugh Allan lost no time in meeting these letters, and 
in the Montreal Gazette of the following morning (May 5th) 
there appeared a very long and exhaustive affidavit made by 
him. In this he gives a short history of the formation and pro- 
gress of his company, the negotiations with the Inter-Oceanic 
and his connection with American capitalists. As Mr. Hunt- 
ingdon’s charges against the Government were in connection 

Sir Hugh Allan’s Affidavit. 


with the latter, we will give such extracts as will explain 
Sir Hugh’s position and views. 

“ That notwithstanding that the Bill, which was so intro- 
duced, contemplated by its terms the exclusion of foreigners 
I did not feel, by any means, convinced that the Government 
would insist upon any such condition, believing as I did, 
and do, that such a proposition was impolitic and unnecessary. 
I did not, therefore, feel justified in entirely breaking off 
my connection with the American associates, although I 
acquainted them with the difficulty which might arise if the 
Government took the same position which the majority of 
the people, with whom I conversed at Ottawa, appeared 
to do. ....... 

But, in point of fact, when the discussions as to the mode 
in which the company should be formed, were entered upon 
with the Government, late in the autumn, I came to under- 
stand decisively, that they could not be admitted, and I 
notified them of the fact, and that the negotiations must 
cease between us, by a letter which has not been published 
in the Herald to-day, but which was in the following terms : — 

Montreal, October 24, 1872. 

My Dear Mr. McMullen. — No action has yet (as far as I know) 
been taken by the Government in the matter of the Pacific Railroad. 
The opposition of the Ontario party will, I think, have the effect of 
shutting out our American friends from any participation in the road 
and I apprehend that all negotiation is at an end. It is still uncertain 
how it (the contract) will be given, but in any case the Government 
seem inclined to exact a declaration that no foreigners will have, 
directly or indirectly, any interest in it. But everything is in a state 
of uncertainty, and I think it is unnecessary for you to visit New York 
on this business at present, or at all, till you hear what the result is 
likely to be. Public sentiment seems to be decided that the road 
shall be built by Canadians only. Yours truly, 

(Signed) Hugh Allan. 

Geo McMullen, Esq., 

Picton, Ont. 

“These sworn statements of Sir Hugh Allan are a perfect 
answer to Mr. Huntingdon’s first two resolutions. Respecting 
the third and fourth which charged that an understanding 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

was come to between the Government and Sir Hugh Allan, 
that the latter and his friends ‘ should advance a large sum of 
money for the purpose of aiding the elections of Ministers 
and their supporters at the ensuing general election, and that 
he and his friends should receive that contract for the con- 
struction of the railway. That, accordingly, Sir Hugh Allan 
did advance a large sum of money for the purpose mentioned 
and at the solicitation and under the pressing instance of 
Ministers.’ Sir Hugh Allan swears : — 

‘“From that time also, communication between myself 
and my former associates ceased, having finally been broken 
off by myself as soon as I ascertained the desire of the 
Government. And I state further, positively, that no money 
derived from any fund or from any of my former American 
associates was expended in assisting my friends or the friends 
of the Government at the recent general elections. 

“ ‘ That with regard to the construction which appears 
to be intended to be placed upon the statements in the letter 
referred to, as to the preliminary expenses, connected with 
the charter, I state most positively and explicitly that I never 
made any arangement or came to any understanding of any 
kind or description with the Government or any of its mem- 
bers, as to the payment of any sum to any one, or in any 
way whatever, in consideration of receiving the contract for 
the Canadian Pacific Railway.’ ” 

Sir Hugh Allan then states that he had expended sums 
approaching those mentioned in his letters, as he conceived 
he had a perfect right to do, and repeats his denial that any 
portion of those sums of money were paid to the members 
of the Government, or were received by them or on their 
behalf, directly or indirectly, as a consideration in any form 
for any advantage to him in connection with the Pacific Rail- 

The statement in the fifth resolution is only a repetition 
of that made in the second and is positively denied by the 

Sir Hugh’s sworn statement was considered satisfactory, 
and public interest in the matter became much abated. It 

Memorial Against Prorogation. 


was revived and increased, however, a fortnight later, by a 
letter published by Mr. McMullen, which contained copies of 
some letters and telegrams from Sir George Cartier and Sir 
John Macdonald which indicated that Sir Plugh Allan had 
advanced large sums of money for election purposes. The 
conclusion sought to be drawn from these documents was that 
they covered an agreement with the Government to grant the 
charter of the Pacific Railway to Sir Hugh Allan in compen- 
sation for the assistance thus given. This conclusion was 
denied on the authority of the Ministry, in an editorial of the 
Montreal Gazette , published July 21st, which promised also 
“ that at the earliest possible moment the whole of the facts 
and circumstances will be laid before a tribunal competent to 
receive evidence respecting them under oath.” 

As August 13th approached, it became evident that the 
Opposition were determined to prevent the meeting of Parlia- 
ment being a formal one for the purpose of receiving the 
report of the Special Committee, and then being prorogued 
according to the well-understood arrangement made at the 
time of adjournment in May. They were anxious to proceed 
with the investigation without any further delay, but it was 
urged in reply that in a matter so nearly concerning the 
honour of Ministers, it would be most unjust to admit testi- 
mony which was not given under the sanctity of an oath, and 
with the fear of punishment for perjury before the eyes of the 

On the appointed day His Excellency proceeded to the 
Senate Chamber for the purpose of proroguing Parliament, 
but previously received a deputation of members who, through 
their chairman, Mr. R. J. Cartwright, presented the following 
memorial : 

“ The undersigned members of the House of Commons of 
Canada desire respectfully to approach your Excellency and 
humbly to represent that more than four months have elapsed 
since the Honourable Mr. Huntingdon made, from his place 
in the House, grave charges of corruption against your 
Excellency’s constitutional advisers in reference to the Pacific 
Railway contract ; that although the House has appointed a 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

Committee to inquire into the said charges, the proceedings of 
this Committee have on various grounds, been postponed, and 
the enquiry has not yet taken place ; that the honour of the 
country imperatively requires that no further delay should 
take place in the investigation of charges of so grave a char- 
acter, and which it is the duty and undoubted right and 
privilege of the Commons to prosecute. 

“ The undersigned are deeply impressed with the convic- 
tion that any attempt to postpone this enquiry, or to remove 
it from the jurisdiction of the Commons, would create the 
most intense dissatisfaction, and they, therefore, pray your 
Excellency not to prorogue Parliament until the House of 
Commons shall have an opportunity of taking such steps as it 
may deem necessary and expedient with reference to this 
important matter.” 

His Excellency in reply stated that he regretted as much 
as any one the delay which had taken place, and mentioned 
the causes which had contributed to this, especially the Oath’s 
Bill which had been disallowed by the Imperial Government,, 
and thereby prevenced the evidence being taken in the solemn 
manner contemplated. He then continued: “You then pro- 
ceed to urge me, on grounds which are very fairly and forcibly 
stated, to decline the advice which has been unanimously 
tendered me by my responsible Ministers, and to refuse to 
prorogue Parliament, in other words you require me to dismiss 
them from my Councils, for, gentlemen, you must be aware 
that this would be the necessary result of my assenting to 
your recommendation. Upon what grounds would I be justi- 
fied in taking so grave a step ? What guarantee can you 
afford me that the Parliament of the Dominion would endorse 
such an act of personal interference on my part? You, your- 
selves, gentlemen, do not form an actual moiety of the House 
of Commons, and I have no means therefore, of ascertaining 
that the majority of that body subscribe to the opinion you 
have enounced. Again, to what should I have to appeal in 
justification of my conduct ? It is true grave charges have 
been preferred against these gentlemen, charges which I 
admit require the most searching investigation, but, as you 

Lord Dufferin’s View. 

193 ' 

yourselves remark in your memorandum, the truth of these 
accusations still remains untested. One of the authors of this 
correspondence which has made so painful an impression on 
the public, has admitted that many of his statements were 
hasty and inaccurate, and has denied on oath the correctness 
of the deductions drawn from them. Various assertions 
contained in the narrative of the other have been positively 
contradicted. Is the Governor-General, upon the strength of 
such evidence as this, to drive from his presence gentlemen 
who for years have filled the highest offices of state, and in 
whom, during the recent session, Parliament has repeatedly 
declared its continued confidence ? It is true certain docu- 
ments of grave significance have lately been published in the 
newspapers in connection with these matters, in regard to 
which the fullest explanation must be given, but no proof has 
yet been adduced which necessarily connects them with the 
culpable transactions of which it is asserted they formed a 
part, however questionable they may appear, as placed in 
juxtaposition with the correspondence to which they have 
been appended by the person who has possessed himself of 
them. Under these circumstances what right has the Gover- 
nor-General, on his personal responsibility, to proclaim to 
Canada — nay, not only to Canada, but to America and 
Europe, as such a proceeding on his part must necessarily do, 
that he believes his Ministers guilty of the crimes alleged 
against them ? ” He then referred to the understanding under 
which Parliament had adjourned, and announced his intention 
of issuing a Royal Commission, and that Parliament would be 
summoned in about ten weeks to receive the report. 

When the Commons met, Mr. Mackenzie read a motion 
declaring that it was the imperative duty of the House to have 
a full investigation into the charges ; that the assumption of the 
duty by any tribunal appointed by the Ministry would be a 
gross breach of the privileges of the House, and that it was 
highly reprehensible for any person to presume to advise His 
Excellency to prorogue Parliament until it had taken action 
in the matter of enquiry. Before he had proceeded far, Black 
Rod appeared and was greeted by strong marks of disappro- 




The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

bation from the Opposition. The Speaker at once arose and 
was followed to the Senate Chamber by the Conservative 
members, the Liberals retaining their seats. Subsequently 
they organized a meeting in the Railway Committee room, 
and passed resolutions similar in effect to the memorial pre- 
sented to His Excellency. 

The position in which Sir John Macdonald and his Gov- 
ernment were placed was most embarrassing. Upon the 
charges being made he had at once moved for a Committee of 
Enquiry, which Committee was appointed by the House and 
not by the Ministry. It had met and asked for power to take 
evidence under oath which was at once granted. Then finding 
that the two principal witnesses were in England, it had with 
the consent of the House, adjourned to a time at which they 
might be expected to return. On re-assembling they found 
that the “ Oath’s Bill ” had been disallowed and again ad- 
journed for new instructions from the House. When Parlia- 
ment re-assembled it was in accordance with an understanding 
that it should be pro forma, and but few of the Government 
supporters were present. The Opposition on the other hand 
had assembled in full strength, and if the Ministry had advised 
His Excellency to depart from the understanding as to proro- 
gation and meet for business, they would have been met by 
an adverse majority and any motion of condemnation or want 
of confidence could have been carried. If, on the other hand, 
they had summoned the full strength of their supporters, and 
the House had proceeded to business, power to take evidence 
on oath could not have been granted to the Committee, for 
that had already been declared ultra vires , and if the enquiry 
had gone on it must have been without the protection of 
solemnly sworn testimony, and the act of the House in passing 
the Oath’s Bill, and the utterances of *His Excellency show, 
beyond dispute, that on all sides it was considered that in 
so grave a matter the Ministry were entitled to this. The 
course adopted in advising the issue of a Royal Commission 
would therefore seem a very proper one, and had it been 
accepted by the Opposition a thorough investigation could 
have been made, and a judgment given which would have 

A Royal Commission Issued. 


either cleared the Ministry or for ever driven out of public life 
those who were found guilty. The report was directed to be 
made to the House, and if there had been any suspicion of 
an undue leaning towards the accused Ministers, it was in the 
power of Parliament to have refused to accept it, and to have 
taken such other steps as the maintenance of its dignity might 
seem to require. 

On the day following prorogation (August 14th), His 
Excellency the Governor-General issued a Royal Commission 
to Judges Polette and Gowan and ex-Judge Day, three gen- 
tlemen of unblemished reputation and high legal knowledge. 
Lord Dufferin thus speaks of them in his despatch to the 
Colonial Secretary : Only one of them is personally known to 

me, viz : Judge Day, who, as Chancellor of McGill University, 
received me on my visit to that institution. Since that we 
have improved our acquaintance, and I have no hesitation 
in stating, both from what I know and have learned, that I 
have every confidence in Judge Day’s high sense of honour, 
capacity and firmness. I have also considered it my duty to 
satisfy myself as to the qualifications of the other two gentle- 
men with whom he is associated, and I am in a position 
to inform your lordship that they are generally regarded as 
persons of unblemished integrity, sound judgment, and profes- 
sional ability, while the length of time all three have been 
removed from politics frees them from the suspicion of 
political partizanship.” 

The Commission assembled at Ottawa on August 18th, 
and commenced the examination of witnesses on September 
4th. Mr. Huntingdon refused to recognize, or to appear 
before them, and would not furnish the names of witnesses. 
Following his example the following also failed to obey the 
summons to attend : G. W. McMullen, C. M. Smith, Honour- 
able A. B. Foster, Honourable Thomas McGreevy, John A. 
Perkins and George Norris, jr. Thirty-six witnesses appeared 
and gave testimony. Sir John Macdonald, Sir Francis 
Hincks, Mr. Langevin, and other members of the Government 
were examined at length, and declared in the most positive 
terms that the charge, that the Government, or any members 

196 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

of it, had made a contract with Sir Hugh Allan, or any one 
else, with regard to the Pacific Railway, in consideration of 
furnishing funds for election purposes, was absolutely false. 
That Sir Hugh Allan had contributed to the funds for election 
expenses was not denied, but he explained his reasons for 
doing so to be that he approved of the railway and canal 
policy of the Government, which was advantageous to his 
business, and desired to see them returned to power, in prefer- 
ence to the Liberals, whose policy, as indicated by their speeches^ 
he found would be injurious to the country, and especially 
detrimental to his business. So far from the Government 
having sold him the contract, Sir John Macdonald had 
positively refused to sanction the terms of a letter written 
to him by Sir George Cartier, and which contained only 
an expression of opinion as to the probable course the Govern- 
ment would take with regard to the amalgamation ot the 
two companies and the contract to be granted. This letter 
was as follows : 

Montreal, July so, 1872. 

Dear Sir Hugh : 

I enclose you copies of telegrams received from Sir John A. Mac- 
donald, and with reference to their contents I would say that, in my 
opinion, the Governor-in-Council will approve of the amalgamation of 
your company with the Inter-Oceanic Company, under the name of 
the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, the Provisional Board of the 
amalgamated company to be composed of seventeen members, of 
which four shall be named from the Province of Quebec by the 
Canada Pacific Railway Company ; four from the Province of Ontario 
by the Inter-Oceanic Railway Company ; and the remainder by the 
Government; the amalgamated company to have the power specified 
in the tenth section of the Act incorporating the Canada Pacific Rail- 
way Company, etc., the agreement of amalgamation to be executed 
between the companies, within two months from this date. 

The Canada Pacific Company might take the initiative in procur- 
ing the amalgamation ; and if the Inter-Oceanic Company should not 
execute an agreement of amalgamation upon such terms, and within 
such limited time, I think the contemplated arrangements should be 
made with the Canada Pacific Railway under its charter. 

Upon the subscription and payment on account of stock being 
made as required by the Act of last session respecting the Canada 
Pacific Railway Company, I have no doubt but that the Governor-in- 
Council will agree with the company for the construction and working 

Want of Confidence Motion. 

9 7 

of the Canadian Pacific Railway with such branches as shall be agreed 
upon, and will grant to the company all $uch subsidies and assistance 
as they are empowered to do by the Government Act. I believe all 
the advantages which the Government Act empowers the Government 
to confer upon any company, will be required to enable the works con- 
templated to be successfully carried through, and I am convinced that 
they will be accorded to the company to be formed by amalgamation, 
or to the Canada Pacific Company, as the case may be. I would add 
that, as I approve of the measures to which I have referred in this 
letter, I shall use my best endeavours to have them carried into 

Very truly yours, 

(Sgd.) Geo. E. Cartier. 

Sir John’s views as to this letter having been communicated 
to Sir Hugh Allan, it was immediately returned by that 
gentleman to Sir George Cartier. 

Parliament re-assembled on October 23rd, when Sir John 
Macdonald at once laid upon the table messages from 
His Excellency the Governor-General, transmitting all the 
papers connected with the case, and also the report of 
the Royal Commission. The great debate took place upon 
the second paragraph of the Address, which was as follows : 

“ That we thank His Excellency for his statement that, 
in accordance with the intimation given by him at the close of 
last session, he has caused Parliament to be summoned at the 
earliest moment after the receipt of the report of the Commis- 
sioners, appointed by His Excellency, to enquire into certain 
matters connected with the Canadian Pacific Railway.” 

As soon as it was read, Mr. Mackenzie rose, and in a 
lengthy and bitter speech reviewed the history of the railway 
and the policy of the Government in connection with it, and 
argued that the recent developments had clearly shewn that 
the Government were determined to carry the elections at all 
hazards, and had used the Pacific Railway contract as the 
means to obtain the money to gain their ends. He concluded 
by moving, seconded by Mr. Coffin : 

“ That the following words be added to the paragraph, 

* And we have to acquaint His Excellency that by their course 
in reference to the investigation of the charges preferred by 

98 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

Mr. Huntingdon, in his place in this House, and under 
the facts disclosed in the evidence laid before us, His Exceb 
lency’s advisers have merited the censure of this House/” 

Mr. Mackenzie was followed by Dr. Tupper, Mr. Hunting- 
don, Sir Francis Hincks, Mr. James Macdonald and many 
others, until November 3rd, when Sir John Macdonald rose tc 
speak. His speech lasted for five and a half hours, and 
covered every point that had been raised. It is too long to 
be given here in full, and much of its force would be lost by 
cutting it down, we will, therefore, only give the concluding 

“ The Government never gave Sir Hugh Allan any 
contract that I am aware of. We never gave him any 
contract in which he had a controlling influence. We had 
formed a committee of thirteen men, chosen carefully and 
painfully, for the purpose of controlling Sir Hugh Allan, and 
preventing him from having any undue influence. We 
promised, we provided that not one of the Board should hold 
more than $100,000 of the stock ; that not one single man 
should have any interest in the contract whatever. I put it ta 
your own minds. There were thirteen gentlemen — Sir Hugh 
Allan and others — incorporated by that charter. That charter 
— study it, take it home with you. Is there any single power, 
privilege or advantage given to Sir Hugh Allan with that 
contract that has not been given equally to the other twelve ? 
(Cheers). It is not pretended that any of the other twelve 
paid money for their positions. It is not contended that the 
gentlemen gave anything further than their own persona}, 
feelings, might dictate. (Cheers). You cannot name a man 
of these thirteen that has got any advantage over the other, 
except that Sir Hugh Allan has his name down first on the 
paper. (Cheers). Can anyone believe that the Government 
is guilty of the charges made against them ? I call upon 
anyone who does to read that charter. Is there anything in 
that contract? If there is a word in that charter which 
derogates from the rights of Canada ; if there is any undue 
privilege, or right, or preponderance, given to anyone of these 
thirteen directors, I say, Mr. Speaker, I am condemned. But, 

Resignation of the Government. 


sir, I commit myself, the Government commits itself to the 
hands of this House ; and far beyond this House, it commits 
itself to the country at large. (Loud cheers). We have faith- 
fully done our duty. We have fought the battle of Confeder- 
ation. We have fought the battle of Union. We have had 
party strife setting province against province ; and more than 
all, we have had, in the greatest province, the preponderating 
province of the Dominion, every prejudice and sectional feel- 
ing that could be arrayed against us. I have been the victim 
of that conduct to a great extent ; but I have fought the 
battle of Confederation, the battle of Union, the battle of the 
Dominion of Canada. I throw myself upon this House ; I 
throw myself upon this country ; I throw myself upon 
posterity ; and I know, that notwithstanding the many failings 
of my life, I shall have the voice of this country and this 
House rallying around me. (Cheers). And, sir, if I am 
mistaken in that, I can confidently appeal to a higher court — 
to the court of my own conscience, and to the court of 
posterity. (Cheers). I leave it with this House with every 
confidence. I am equal to either fortune. I can see past the 
decision of this House, either for or against me ; but whether 
if be for or against me, I know — and it is no vain boast for me 
to say so, for even my enemies will admit that I am no boaster 
— that there does not exist in Canada a man who has given 
more of his time, more of his heart, more of his wealth, or 
more of his intellect and power, such as they may be, for the 
good of this Dominion of Canada.” (Loud and prolonged 

Other speeches were made, but it soon became evident 
that the strength of the Government was being sapped. 
Whether or not there was any truth in the rumours with which 
the air was filled, of promises to prominent men, or of other 
human devices brought to bear on the weak-hearted and weak 
kneed ; or that there had set in one of those irresistible tenden- 
cies on the part of popular feeling to rush, unthinkingly and 
unreasonably, on the spur of the moment, to hasty and unjust 
conclusions without properly weighing the evidence, it is need- 
less to enquire. The majority of Sir John’s friends stood 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

nobly by him, but not all, and, when the party whips whispered 
that, if a vote were taken, the amendment would probably be 
carried by a majority of two, on November 5th, he placed 
his resignation and that of his Ministry in the hands of the 
Governor-General. The unfairness and falsity of the charges 
against him have long since been recognized. Public opinion, 
after mature deliberation, and on sober second thought, 
pronounced him “ not guilty/’ and not only restored him to 
place and power, but established him so firmly that never 
again during his lifetime was he disturbed. 

In the above narrative of this very eventful period in Sir 
John Macdonald’s life we have confined ourselves to a mere 
statement of facts, but, before leaving the subject, it is proper 
that we should refer to the means by which it was sought to 
obtain incriminating evidence against him and his Ministry. 
Mr. Huntingdon was the accuser, and his right-hand man was 
George W. McMullen, a person to whom the papers did not 
hesitate to apply every epithet which could convey contempt, 
as a man void of principle, and an unscrupulous adventurer. 
It was with him that Sir Hugh Allan conducted the corres- 
pondence respecting the interests of the American capitalists 
in his proposed company, and, when he thought that Sir 
Hugh had committed himself in such a way that the 
publication of his letters would damage him before the Cana- 
dian public, he went to him and demanded blackmail for their 
return. Sir Hugh, believing that his interests required Mr. 
McMullen’s silence, paid him a sum of money, and agreed to 
pay him the further sum of $17,000 for the letters, after the 
session was over. But Mr. McMullen never got this $17,000, 
and why ? Can there be any doubt of the story which was 
accepted at the time, that he got a higher bid and, for 
increased gold, betrayed Sir Hugh, and sold his letters to be 
used against him ? In addition to the letters and telegrams 
which appeared on July 4th, other documents were afterwards 
published, and how were these obtained ? By paying $1,500 
to Mr. Abbott’s confidential clerk to steal them from his 
desk. Sir Hugh Allan’s office was also entered at night time 
and copies made of telegrams he had received, and even the 

The Accusers of the Government. 


Post Office was not safe, for a letter from Sir John Macdonald 
to Mr. J. H. Pope was opened and published. No reference 
to these discreditable occurrences has been made in the state- 
ment given above of the Pacific Railway Slander, because it 
was desired to make the narrative as little heated as possible, 
but now they can be rightly brought in to emphasize the 
unfair treatment accorded to Sir John Macdonald on the 
strength of documents obtained in this dishonourable way, and 
in accepting the unsworn statement of one man of more than 
doubtful character, to the exclusion of the sworn testimony of 
thirty-six men of recognized high character and unquestioned 

The character of the men who were represented as Ameri- 
can capitalists, and upon whose testimony Mr. Huntingdon 
and his friends relied to fix upon Sir John Macdonald and 
his Ministers a charge of selling a contract and dragging 
the honour of Canada in the dust, can best be gathered from 
an editorial article from the Chicago Times reproduced in the 
Toronto Mail of March 5, 1877. 

“ There is a notorious family in Chicago — the McMullens. 
They came here from Canada. They now teach the public 
morality, honesty, and piety in an unfortunate attempt at a 
newspaper called The Post. The public has some interest 
in these notorious persons at the present time because they 
are endeavouring to fasten themselves upon the city treasury. 

“ These men have a history which is interesting, even to 
persons not much concerned as to who gets the city printing. 

“ George W. McMullen, the brass and brains of the family 
is the man who achieved distinction in connection with the 
Canadian Pacific Credit Mobilier. This was a gigantic 
swindle. Its purpose was identical with that of Oakes Ames 
in the swindle of the same name in the United States. 
McMullen did considerable work in the Canadian Credit 
Mobilier and was caught and exposed. He threatened libel 
suits upon several newspapers in Canada which characterized 
him in terms equivalent to perjurer and blackmailer, and 
when the newspapers challenged him to bring his case to 
action, he failed to appear. The charges remain on record. 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

They will never be brought to trial by McMullen. Sir Hugh 
Allen was also involved in this swindle. A number of letters 
passed between him and G. W. McMullen mutually com- 
promising. Allan had a character to lose, but McMullen 
had the letters. The Toronto Mail asserted that McMullen 
blackmailed Sir Hugh as the condition of not making the 
damaging disclosures public. The anti-Allan faction knew 
that the letters existed, and they thought they knew the 
material McMullen was made of. Overtures for the purchase 
of the letters were quietly begun, and, after dallying between 
the crazed Sir Hugh, who is said to have offered all he was 
worth to get the letters, and the other faction who put the 
price up higher McMullen took the better bargain. 

“ The Mail characterized McMullen as an eavesdropper, 
a listener at key-holes, a loathsome spy who sat at men’s 
tables, broke their bread and ate their meat, and then slunk 
away to sell the secrets obtained under cover of hospitality 
and pledge of confidential intercourse. That journal publicly 
branded him as a blackmailer and a perjurer, and McMullen, 
after a pretence of bringing a suit against the Mail, never 
faced it in court. In the investigation instituted by the 
Dominion Parliament into the Credit Mobilier swindle, 
McMullen was awarded immunity against conviction for 
alleged perjury on condition that he betrayed his associates 
in the conspiracy. 

“ Meanwhile this honest and industrious family were 
engaged in a dubious enterprise in Chicago. They ran a 
bank and the famous State Insurance Company. George 
C. Smith and the McMullens ran the bank. The McMullens 
and George C. Smith ran the State Insurance Company. 
After the fire, George W. McMullen, on behalf of the bank, 
hurried around to the policy-holders, told them the insurance 
company was ‘ bust/ and that they would be extremely lucky 
if they got ten cents on the dollar, and, being a generous man, 
he offered them ten cents on the dollar. Many of them 
accepted — poor workingmen, widows, washerwomen, and such 
other victims as had been entrapped into giving their money 
into the swindle in the first place. Then the managers of 

The Accusers of the Government. 


the insurance company — the McMullens and Smith — had a 
meeting, and ordered themselves to pay to the bank in full 
the 10 per cent, policies ; and then the bank managers — 
Smith and the McMullens — put the 90 per cent, in their 
pockets. It was only a few days ago that the robbed and 
swindled policy-holders had their latest meeting, to hear 
their attorney’s report as to the progress made in getting 
the money back. 

“ When the State Insurance swindle was brought into 
court, there was some extraordinary developments. The 
policy-holders insisted that the bank ledger should be pro- 
duced, in order that the money stolen from them, while they 
were houseless and homeless, might be traced and recovered. 
The court gave the order. It was then alleged that the bank 
ledger was lost. The information was conveyed to the policy- 
holders that it was not lost, that it was in the bank the day 
the court sent for it, and that D. S. McMullen had the book. 
D. S. McMullen was examined. His story surpassed any of 
Munchausen’s. He swore that one day, while riding alone, 
he left his buggy and went into a house. When he returned 
to his vehicle he found therein a package wrapped in paper 
and sealed. He admitted that it was of the form, and size, 
and style of the bank-ledger, and that it was sealed with 
the seal of the bank. An anonymous note laid upon it 
requested him to take charge of the package for a friend who 
would some time call for it. He did not know the writing 
did not save the note, even to identify the friend when he 
should call again. Some time subsequently he received 
another anonymous note requesting him to bring the package 
in his buggy to a certain corner of the Court House square- 
to leave it in his buggy, go away from the vehicle, and the 
owner of the package would get it during his absence. He 
complied with the request. Didn’t lpok to see who took it 
away. Didn’t know what became of it. Had no idea who 
the friend was, or whether it was the same person who had 
so impetuously deposited in his buggy the mysterious pack- 
age, in the first place. The ledger was not found, and the 
victims of the State Insurance swindle know no more to-day 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

than they did then, what became of their money, except that 
it passed into the pockets of thieves. Judge Drummond 
delivered some remarks concerning D. S. McMullen’s truth- 
fulness, which justify the suspicion that he is a worthy brother 
of George W. McMullen. In fact, Judge Drummond deliv- 
ered a eulogy upon the McMullen family, which rarely falls 
to the lot of members of the human race. The unfortunate 
policy-holders who sold out to George W. McMullen and his 
agents for ten cents on the dollar thought they had fared 
badly ; but the still more unfortunate policy-holders who 
refused to sell, got less, and none of them are likely to recover 
a cent, even with the aid of the court.” 

It is unnecessary to give the balance of the article, which 
deals with other members of the family, showing that another 
brother had been indicted for perjury and fraud against the 
United States, while occupying the position of gauger, and that 
still another one had been before the grand jury in connec- 
tion with an attempt to obtain the city printing by bribery. 

It is not to be wondered at that when the big-hearted 
Canadian public learned all these facts and came to know 
the true inwardness of the plot against Sir John Macdonald, 
that they should hasten to restore him to that place in their 
hearts, which he had previously enjoyed, and by their votes 
at the polls, testify to the renewal of their confidence. 

On November 7th, the new Ministry was sworn in as 
follows : 

Hon. Alex. Mackenzie, Premier and Minister of Public Works. 

Hon. Antoine A. Dorion, Minister of Justice. 

Hon. Albert J. Smith, Minister of Marine and Fisheries. 

Hon. Luc Letellier de St. Just, Minister of Agriculture. 

Hon. Richard John Cartwright, Minister of Finance. 

Hon. David Laird, Minister of the Interior. 

Hon. David Christie, Secretary of State. 

Hon. Isaac Burpee, Minister of Customs, 

Hon. Donald A. Macdonald, Postmaster-General. 

Hon. Thomas Coffin, Receiver-General. 

Hon. Telesphore Fournier, Minister of Inland Revenue. 

Hon. William Ross, Minister of Militia. 

Hon. Edward Blake, without portfolio. 

Hon. Richard W. Scott, without portfolio. 

Pacific Railway Resolutions. 


On January 9, 1874, Honourable David Christie was 
appointed Speaker of the Senate, and was succeeded as 
Secretary of State by the Honourable R. W. Scott. On Jan- 
uary 20th, Honourable L. S. Huntingdon was appointed Presi- 
dent of the Council. 

Mr. Mackenzie, probably feeling that he could not rely 
with certainty upon a Parliament elected under a Conserva- 
tive Government, and which had given that Government a 
large majority up to the time of their resignation, resolved 
upon advising a dissolution, which the Governor-General con- 
ceded, and on January 2nd writs for a new election were 
issued. The result was that he completely swept the country, 
and came back with a majority of about eighty. 

The new Parliament met on March 26th, when Honourable 
T. W. Anglin was unanimously elected Speaker of the 

On May 12th Mr. Mackenzie moved the House into Com- 
mittee of the Whole on his Pacific Railway Resolutions, the 
main points about which were, that the road was to be 
divided into four sections, viz : First , from Lake Nipissing to 
the west end of Lake Superior ; Second , from No. 1 to Red 
River ; Third , from Red River to a point between Fort 
Edmonton and the foot of the Rocky Mountains ; Fourth , 
thence to the Pacific. A line of telegraph to be constructed 
in advance of the railway. The road to be constructed under 
the Department of Public Works. The land grant to consist 
of 20,000 acres per mile in alternate sections, two-thirds to be 
sold by the Government at prices agreed upon, and the 
proceeds paid to the contractors as the work went on. The 
Government to have power, if found more advantageous, to 
contract and work the railway as a public work. The money 
grant to be $10,000 per mile for construction and rolling stock, 
and 4 per cent, on a sum per mile to be fixed by contract, for 
running the road. 

In introducing the Bill, Mr. Mackenzie reviewed the past 
history of the road, and said that he had not at all changed 
his mind as to the impossibility of completing the road within 
the period mentioned in the agreement with British Columbia. 

20 6 

The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

He considered that the road would have to be built by 
the country, but it need not all be built at once. He favoured 
the construction of short lines of railway to connect the 
magnificent water stretches of the continent, which would 
afford a summer route to the foot of the Rockies, and be quite 
sufficient for many years to come. He did not consider it at 
all necessary to build at present the 557 miles from Nipissing 
to Nipigon. With regard to the section west of the Rocky 
Mountains, he said : “ The British Columbia section will, of 
course, have to be proceeded with as fast as we can do it, as it 
is essential to keep faith with the spirit and, as far as possible, 
with the letter of the agreement.” 

Honourable Dr. Tupper took exception to the Government 
scheme, claiming that, if carried out, it would impose an 
unbearable amount of taxation upon the country. The Bill, 
however, passed its third reading without amendment. 

Parliament was prorogued on May 26th, after passing one 
hundred and seventeen Bills, amongst the most important of 
which were an Act authorizing a loan of ^8,000,000 sterling, 
and an Act to take the construction of the Intercolonial 
Railway out of the hands of Commissioners, and place it 
under the control of the Public Works Department. 


Sir John Macdonald elected Leader of the Opposition — His attitude towards the 
Government — His National Policy resolution, March io, 1876 — The Nor- 
folk Demonstration — Address from the Liberal-Conservative Association — 
Sir John’s speech — He advocates a Policy of Protection to all classes of 
Industry — Address of Mr. Thomas White, jr. , at London — Retrospect of Can- 
adian Tariff Legislation — Mr. Granger’s opinion of the effect of Protection 
— The views of Horace Greeley — And of Henry Clay — The destruction of 
the direct tea trade — The effect of Protection on the Masses — Does it build 
up colossal fortunes? — England and the United States compared — The 
mutual interests of the people in the Protective System — Opinion of Gen- 
eral Jackson — The value of a home market — Protection does not increase 
prices— The policy is appropriate to Canada — Reciprocity considered — 
Legislation must be for Canadian interests — Protection resolution carried 
at a meeting of the Dominion Board of Trade. 

I T would, no doubt, make these pages more complete were 
we to follow the course of the Mackenzie Government 
during the five years they were in power. Their policy, with 
respect to the building of the Pacific Railway, the trouble 
with British Columbia, the Carnarvon terms, Lord Dufferin’s 
visit and speech at Victoria, are all necessary to a complete 
history of our great national highway, but it would be incon- 
sistent with the task we have undertaken, to refer to them 
except from the stand-point from which they were viewed 
by Sir John Macdonald. For the same reason we shall omit 
all reference to the trade policy pursued during these years, 
and pass on to the time when he brought before Parliament 
his resolutions in favour of a protective or national policy, 
merely remarking of the period that had elapsed between this 
and his resignation of office, that Sir John Macdonald was 
unanimously elected leader of the Canadian Liberal-Conser- 
vative Opposition on November 6, 1873, an d, in that capacity, 
not only refrained from offering any factious opposition to 
the Government, but on several occasions, gave them the 
benefit of his ability and long experience in perfecting some 
of their most important measures, notably, the Insolvent Act 
and the Act constituting the Supreme Court of the Dominion. 
He disagreed with them entirely, however, on their trade 
policy and on March 10, 1876, on the motion to go into 
Committee of Supply, moved the following amendment : 



The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

“ That this House regrets His Excellency the Governor- 
General has not been advised to recommend to Parliament 
a measure for the re-adjustment of the tariff, which would 
not only aid in alleviating the stagnation of business deplored 
in the gracious Speech from the Throne, but would also afford 
fitting encouragement and protection to the struggling manu- 
facturers and industries, as well as to the agricultural products 
of this country.” 

Sir John made an elaborate speech in support of his 
motion and from that time forth, in Parliament and out of 
Parliament, lost no opportunity of advocating his scheme. 
It was already apparent that the tide of popular opinion was 
turning in his favour and during the succeeding summer, 
warm invitations were extended to him to visit different 
parts of the country and address the people at open air meet- 
ings. These picnics were attended by thousands of the 
electors, accompanied by their wives and families, and proved 
an admirable medium for bringing before the great body of 
the people, the arguments he had to advance in favour of his 
policy. He was invariably attended by some of the most 
skilful debaters of his party who, by their able and exhaustive 
speeches, materially assisted his efforts. As an example of 
one of these, we will take the Norfolk demonstration, held 
at the town of Simcoe, on September 27, 1876. He was 
accompanied by the Honourable William McDougall, and on 
arrival, was greeted with the utmost enthusiasm by a vast 
number of people. An address, embodying the feelings of 
affection and admiration entertained towards him by his 
numerous friends in both Ridings of the County, was pre- 
sented, after which speeches were made first by prominent local 
men, and then by their guests. That of Mr. McDougall was 
a brilliant retrospect of occurrences since Confederation, and 
a forcible defence of his own conduct and that of his fellow 
Reformers who had joined hands with the Conservatives in 
bringing about this event, and afterwards assisted in perfect- 
ing the arrangements then made, and who did not conceive 
it to be their duty to desert the Ministry and follow Mr. 

The Norfolk Picnic. 


Brown. His effort met with great appreciation and he was 
warmly cheered throughout. 

The following is a copy of the Address which was read to 
Sir John Macdonald by Mr. Livingstone, the Secretary of the 
Liberal-Conservative Association of the North Riding of 
Norfolk : 

To the Right Honourable Sir John Macdonald , K.C.B : 

The Conservatives of Norfolk hail with pleasure your visit to their 
county, and earnestly hope that your life will be prolonged, and that 
your health will enable you for years to continue their chief. Many of 
those present to-day to greet you with a loyal welcome, have been 
your admirers and steadfast friends since you first entered political 
life, and have watched with intense interest the career of the distingu- 
ished leader who, by his kindness of heart and urbanity of manner, has 
endeared himself to his followers ; who, for more than a quarter of a 
century, led his party in triumph from one victory to another ; and all 
hold in high esteem the great statesman who, on obtaining position, 
found this country a number ot separate provinces, but who, upon 
retiring from the helm of state, left it a vast Dominion extending from 
the Atlantic to the Pacific, with its people peaceful, prosperous and 
contented — a statesman who, by his eminent abilities, has won for 
himself an illustrious name, and a fame as imperishable as the history 
of his country. 

It is not because you are deemed faultless that this large Assembly 
has met to do you honour ; it is because Conservatives believe that if 
you erred in the administration of affairs your errors were of judgment 
and not of intention, and they have ever been proud of you because 
your slanderers, although they have been both numerous and malig- 
nant, have never succeeded in connecting your name with any act by 
which the interest or honour of your country was sacrificed ; or with 
having used your position to enrich or aggrandize yourself or your 
friends by dishonourable means. 

The ovations you receive wherever you go prove that you still 
possess the fullest confidence of Conservatives — and, we believe, of a 
vast majority of the Canadian people — and are omens that you are 
soon to be restored to the power which was wrested from you by 
dishonest means, and by oft repeated charges of wrong doing, which 
were unsustained by evidence, and which were false, but which, for a 
time, so blinded the electors to your real worth, and to the true merits 
of the case, that your party was defeated at the polls. 

Conservatives believe that your restoration to power will be a 
blessing to your country, and that the country will witness one of 
your greatest triumphs, when, by wise legislation, you will have brought 




The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

prosperity back to the Dominion, and will have swept away the great 
depression which at present overwhelms the Canadian industries. 

On behalf of the Conservatives of Norfolk we bid you welcome, and 
have the honour to present you with this Address. 

John Wilson, 

President, North Norfolk Conservative Association. 

W. Dawson, 

President, South Norfolk Conservative Association. 

W. Wilson Livingstone, 

Secretary, North Norfolk Conservative Association. 

J. Wesley Ryerson 

Secretary, South Norfolk Conservative Association. 

Simcoe, September 27, 1876. 

The following is but a small portion of the Speech made 
by Sir John Macdonald. Its great length prevents our giving 
it in full : 

“ Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen — If I have for 
thirty years been in public life ; if I have for nearly twenty 
years been a membor of the Government ; and if, during the 
greater part of that period, I have been the most reviled, 
calumniated and abused man in Canada, I have my compensa- 
tion here. I have my reward, my exceeding great reward, 
when I find that such an Assembly as this, in the glorious old 
county of Norfolk, comes here to do honour to myself. It is 
a reward of which any statesman should be proud. It is a 
testimony which I feel at the very bottom of my heart, and I 
would, indeed, be insensible to your kindness if I did not 
accept it, not only as a reward for my long services, and for all 
the toil and trouble that have fallen upon me for many years, 
but as a verdict of acquittal at your hands, from all the 
charges against me of wilful wrong doing. No man is more 
conscious than I am of my faults. Looking back at my 
history, and at the history of Canada, I freely admit that, 
guided by the light of experience, there are many things in 
my political career that I now could wish had been otherwise. 
There are acts of omission and commission which I regret ; 
but your testimony, and the testimony of my own conscience, 
alike show that, as you believe, and as I know, whether I was 
right or wrong in any political act at the time, I was acting 
according to the best of my judgment for the interest of our 

President Canadian Pacific Railway). 

The Norfolk Picnic. 


common country. (Hear, hear). I want no more impartial 
jury than you. I want no other verdict than from your hands 
and from men like you in this Dominion, and especially in 
this Province of Ontario — my own Province — and wherever I 
have gone during this summer, I have been received kindly 
by friends and political foes, listened to with respect by the 
latter, and by my friends greeted with enthusiasm. These 
meetings are of the very greatest importance. Public men in 
meeting their countrymen as I have been doing this summer, 
have only been copying the example of public men in the 
mother country. The public men of England, who are 
members of the House of Commons, are in the habit of visiting 
their constituents, and entering fully into a discussion of the 
political questions of the day. And yet when we commenced 
these meetings — and I tell you that in no one case did I 
suggest an invitation, the meetings through the country being 
free and spontaneous expressions of feeling towards me — 
they were laughed and jeered at and belittled. (Cheers). 

“ When we were forced to go out of office we left this 
country in a happy and contented state. (Cheers). In 
November, 1873, the credit of this country was greater than 
it ever was before. We left you a country in which there was 
peace and prosperity, where the people were satisfied with the 
state of affairs, where there was confidence in business, a pride 
in the future of the country, and a feeling of certainty that we 
were going forward, and as we had risen from being four 
provinces to be one great Dominion, so it was felt we had a 
great future before us in its development. There was universal 
confidence and satisfaction throughout Canada, and there was 
peace and contentment. What do you find now ? Is there 
peace and contentment now? Is there confidence — (‘No, no,’) 
— is there confidence in any branch of public affairs ? Is there 
confidence in any branch of the industries of this country ? 
Are not our manufacturers suffering all over the Dominion in 
consequence of the injudicious action of the Government in 
meddling and muddling with our tariff? Have they not 
shaken our credit ? Are not our manufacturers closing or 
working at half time ? Are not our mechanics working at 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

half wages, and is there any prospect that things will be 
better ? There is universal discontent, universal dissatisfac- 
tion, and a well-grounded belief that the present men in 
power, no matter how patriotic their intentions may be, do 
not possess the capacity to govern this country wisely and 

“ Gentlemen, there is another issue between the present 
Government and the Opposition. We are in favour of a 
tariff that will incidentally give protection to our manufac- 
turers, that will develop our manufacturing industries. We 
believe that that can be done, and if done it will give a 
home market to our farmers. The farmers will be satisfied 
when they know that large bodies of operatives are working 
in the mills and manufactories in every village and town in 
the country. They know that every man of them is a con- 
sumer, and that he must have pork and flour, beef and all that 
the farmers raise, and they know that instead of being obliged 
to send their grain to a foreign and uncertain market they will 
have a market at their own door. And the careful housewife, 
every farmer’s wife, will know that everything that is produced 
under her care — the poultry, the eggs, the butter, and the 
garden stuff — will find a ready and profitable market in the 
neighbouring town or village. 

“ No country is great with only one industry. Agriculture 
is our most important, but it cannot be our only staple. All 
men are not fit to be farmers ; there are men with mechanical 
and manufacturing genius who desire to become operatives or 
manufacturers of some kind, and we must have the means to 
employ them, and when there is a large body of successful 
and prosperous farmers and a large body of successful and 
prosperous manufacturers, the farmer will have a home market 
for his produce, and the manufacturer a home market for his 
goods, and we shall have nothing to fear. And, therefore, I 
have been urging upon my friends — I have told them that we 
must lay aside all old party quarrels about old party doings. 
(Cheers). Those old matters are matters before the flood — 
(cheers) — which have gone by and are settled forever — many 
of them settled by the Governments of which I have been 

The Norfolk Picnic. 


a member. Why should parties divide on these old quar- 
rels ? Let us divide on questions affecting the present and 
future interest of the country. 

“ The question of the day is that of the protection of our 
farmers from the unfair competition of foreign produce, and 
the protection of our manufacturers. I am in favour of recip- 
rocal free trade if it can be obtained, but so long as the policy 
of the United States closes their markets to our products we 
should have a policy of our own as well, aud consult only our 
own interests. That subject wisely and vigorously dealt with, 
you will see confidence restored, the present depression dispel- 
led, and the country prosperous and contented. The whole 
country is now dissatisfied, even the political partizans of the 
Government own that these men are incapable, and the whole 
country knows it. I have said that the agriculturists and the 
manufacturers must not divide fheir interests. They must act 
together. In 1870 the Government, of which I was a member, 
began the National Policy and put small duties on flour, coal, 
salt, etc. I then told the manufacturers that they could not 
expect to get protection from the farmers unless their interests 
were also protected. They must make a common interest of 
it ; unless you manufacturers will protect the farmers they will 
not protect you. (Cheers). 

“When I went to Washington in 1871, that policy was 
repealed in my absence, and it had a prejudicial effect upon 
the negotiations we were making at that time, But Mr. 
Mackenzie says we had a majority in the House at that time. 
True, but the whole of the Opposition voted for the repeal of 
this National Policy, and some of our friends, who were 
Free Traders, from the Lower Provinces voted with them. 
The majority of our friends voted to support the measure. 
But there was a sufficient minority of our friends who voted 
with the whole body of the Opposition, and the Act of 1870 
was repealed. I told the manufacturers who favoured the 
repeal how selfish and unwise it was, because some few articles 
might be got cheaper for their purposes, to thwart the wishes 
of the farmers when they would probably be applying shortly 
for protection for themselves. Gentlemen, they will not make 

21 6 

The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

the mistake again ; they see the error now, and are anxious 
to act with the farmers. And, gentlemen, if now you act 
together as one man, I promise you you will see your manu- 
factures flourish, and you will get a home market. Then the 
depression will disappear, but it will not disappear until 
another very lamentable thing happens — the present Ministry 
must disappear too. (Cheers and laughter). Great as the 
calamity will be, it must happen, or the present depression wiU 
continue. You must do it or you will remain a slaughter 
market. The Americans ‘ have the whole control of your 
markets, and when they at any time produce too much for 
their own markets, they send their surplus goods over here to 
sell them off at a sacrifice and bring down the price of every 
article in Canada, and thus our manufactures are obliged 
to close their establishments or employ their workmen on half 
or quarter time. Why, it has not been denied that, according 
to the statement of Mr. W. P. Howland, President of the 
Dominion Board of Trade, 400,000 workingmen have been 
obliged to leave Canada to find employment in the United 
States. Mr. Mackenzie attempts to deny it, and he takes 
credit that some had found work on the Welland Canal, work 
which they would never have got if we had not carried the 
measure for enlarging that work, and commenced its con- 

“ Gentlemen, our workmen can be fully employed if we 
encourage our manufactures ; they need not go over to 
the States to add strength and wealth to a foreign country and 
to deprive us of that strength and wealth. If we have work 
here, at home, our country will be prosperous and happy, and, 
gentlemen, it is a consummation devoutly to be wished 
for, and I pray you to take the lesson to heart and cast aside 
all factious and partizan feelings which may have been 
imbibed for the purpose of supporting designing politicians 
like Mr. Mackenzie or myself. (Laughter). It has been said 
that party is the madness of many for the gain of a few. It 
may be so when it is a mere question between the ins and the 
outs, but when the people divide on living questions we shall 
have parties of earnest men, who will select the best men 

The Norfolk Picnic. 


to carry out their views in Parliament. Speaking as I do, 
and feeling as I do that our views are correct, I invite the 
calm consideration of the people of Canada, of the electors of 
this county, at the next general election to return men who 
will see that their interests are protected. It will not be 
by taking those who say they will vote protection, but who, 
like Mr. Charlton, when the question is put before the House, 
speak one way and vote the other. That kind of thing 
is a humbug, and you must not elect a man because he merely 
promises to vote for protection. 

“You know very well there can be no alteration in 
the tariff unless it is brought down by the Government. No 
independent member can move a rise in the tariff ; it must be 
introduced by the Government. So you must not support 
a man unless he pledges himself to vote, not only for protec- 
tion, but against any Government which will not bring down 
a measure for the purpose. 

“ No, no, you must get the Government out, and put in a 
Government that will carry it. Mr. Mackenzie is trying to 
frighten his own discontented friends by asserting that if they 
go out Sir John Macdonald and his bad men will come in. 
Now that does not at all follow. This is a free country and 
the people will choose for themselves ; the elector can, by 
calm and deliberate action, elect men who are pledged to 
carry out this great policy intelligently, and who will only 
give their confidence to a Government worthy of it. There 
are many good men in public life besides Mr. Mackenzie and 
myself ; if Mr. Mackenzie died — and what a loss that would 
be to the country — (laughter) — and if I died- — I have no 
doubt that the country would flourish as it does now — only 
better, if not under the present Government. (Hear, hear). 
All this cry is a bugaboo to keep themselves in. No, put 
them out if they are unfit and put other and better men in 
their places. 

“ Ladies and gentlemen, I have to thanx you for the kind- 
ness and enthusiasm shown by you in this magnificent 
demonstration ; I have to thank you from the bottom of my 
heart. I should be deeply insensible if I did not feel your 

2 1 8 

The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

kindness, confidence, and aid ; and the consolation it will give 
to my friends, my wife, and my children, after all that I have 
borne with, when they see and read how you, my fellow- 
countrymen, rally round me, and how my friends in other 
parts of the country have rallied round me. I have suffered, 
and my family have suffered still more, from the continued 
abuse that has been poured upon me, but that is all wiped 
away, that is all forgotten. (Hear, hear). If, perhaps, I am 
more popular than I have been in Ontario, and I believe I am 
— (hear, hear) — a good deal of my popularity is to be attri- 
buted to the feeling of the generous people of this country 
that it is unfair to heap such obloquy on a man who has 
v/orked so hard for his country.” 

Of the many able addresses made during this period, on 
the question of Protection vs. Free Trade, there was probably 
none that attracted greater attention than that delivered by 
Mr. Thomas White, Jr., in the City Hall, London, at the 
invitation of the Board of Trade, on January 12, 1877. The 
audience was composed of merchants, manufacturers and 
business men generally, from the city and surrounding towns 
and villages and numbered about six hundred. The meeting 
was presided over by Mr. George Moorhead, President of the 
Board of Trade, and on the platform were the Mayor and a 
full representation of the banking and mercantile community, 
the clergy, etc. The Chairman introduced Mr. White in 
flattering terms, who, on rising, was received with loud 
applause. His address was so well arranged, so able, so 
logical, so convincing, and so clearly expounded the policy 
of Sir John Macdonald and the Conservative party that, after 
a lapse of a quarter of a century, it is as appropriate and as 
interesting as when delivered, and may be read with pleasure 
and profit. We, therefore give the following voluminous 
extracts : — 

“ When the Board of Trade of the city of London did me 
the honour to invite me to this city to deliver an address upon 
so important a subject as the relations of the question of Free 
Trade and Protection to the interests of Canada, I confess to 
you I had a great deal of hesitation about the propriety 

Mr. White’s Address on Protection. 


of my accepting that invitation. I have no doubt whatever in 
my own mind as to the importance of this question. I have 
no doubt in my own mind that it arises, in its relation to the 
real interests of this Dominion, far above any other question 
that is prominent in the discussions of the country. But I am 
a strong party man — I am tolerably known as such ; and my 
only fear in accepting this invitation was that some persons 
might be ill-natured enough to suppose that I had some party 
or sinister motive in accepting it. This question, I think, may 
fairly be discussed without relation to party to-night. (Hear, 
hear). I think it may fairly be thus discussed, for this 
reason : That there are in all the political parties of this coun- 
try considerable diversity of opinion upon the subject. (Hear, 
hear). Among both parties will be found those who are 
strong free-traders, and those who are strong protectionists. 
And I propose, therefore, in discussing it with you here this 
evening, to deal with it not in its relation to party at all. I 
desire that we all should, as I hope to be able to, forget that 
we are party men in any sense whatever, and remember only 
that W'e are Canadians, deeply interested in the prosperity of 
this country. (Loud applause). 

“You will allow me, before I enter upon the discussion 

itself, to refer somewhat briefly to the tariff legislation of 

Canada. You will remember that in 1855-56, and 1856 par- 
ticularly, we had great prosperity in Canada. The Grand 
Trunk Railway was being built. Enormous sums of English 
capital were introduced and were being expended in the 
country. Employment was given to the people ; numerous 
people were brought over from the Old World, some of whom 
are now to be found among the most prosperous farmers in 
this and other sections of the Dominion of Canada — men who 
came here as navvies to work upon the Grand Trunk Railway. 
Upon the completion of that work the crisis of 1857 came 

upon us. The prosperity which we had enjoyed for a short 

time, and which we had all hoped might be permanent, passed 
away, together with the magnificent schemes of future riches 
which many a man had built up on the strength of having pur- 
chased a lot where a station was going to be built, and had got 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

the geographer to draw him plans of the future city with its 
magnificent churches and town hall, and other prominent build- 
ings. But they were compelled to realize that the country was 
not prosperous because of the temporary introduction of capital 
into it, and the mere temporary expenditure of that capital. 
Then came the most important act in our tariff legislation. I 
refer to the Act of 1858, when Mr. Galt, now Sir Alexander 
Galt, for the first time in Canada introduced the protection 
principle, and I think you will agree with me that that had 
an important influence upon the interests of this country. 
Those of you who look back and remember that period will 
agree with me that the industries which sprang up, almost as 
if by magic, in different parts of the country as the result of 
the protective duties, compensate us to a very considerable 
extent for the cessation of those large expenditures in capital 
which we had had in consequence of the construction of the 
Grand Trunk Railway. That was the first protectionist, and, 
I say, the most important Act in the tariff legislation of old 
Canada ; and it had an influence upon the prosperity of the 
country, such as no one can for a moment question. 

“ Our next most important Act — it was important because 
it was apparently in direct reversal of the policy of 1858 — was 
the tariff of 1866, when the same Finance Minister, Mr. Galt, 
then a member of the Coalition Government, introduced a 
Bill which, on the average, reduced the duty on the unenumer- 
ated list to fifteen per cent. It is important for a moment to 
understand the reasons which justified, and the circumstances 
which rendered possible, that act of legislation. We were at 
that time discussing the question of Confederation. All 
parties in Canada had united together to ‘ ground arms * in 
relation to the old party disputes which had separated them 
before that time. They had agreed, I say, to ‘ ground arms/ 
and to build up a great Confederation, which would extend 
from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and to secure for the future 
of this country that prosperity which seemed almost impossible 
in the existing state of things. Our friends in the Maritime 
Provinces were strong free traders ; that is, strong free 
traders in the sense that they desired a low import duty ; their 

Mr. White’s Address on Protection. 


duties averaged not more than twelve and a-half per cent. 
And one of the strongest arguments used against going into 
Confederation was the high duties of the old Provinces of 
Canada. The object, therefore, of that reduction was to assist 
those friends of Confederation in the Lower Provinces in 
bringing about that union, the effect of which would be to add 
a million consumers for the producers of Canada, and would 
secure for the whole the greater prosperity which all 

“ Now, what were the circumstances which rendered that 
possible ? The United States had just emerged from a great 
war, and that war had paralysed all their industries. That 
war had enforced a system of internal taxation which had 
increased enormously the cost of everything ; they produced 
a system of high duties which increased the cost of everything 
they imported. They were in that condition which afforded 
to us, lying alongside of them, and free from these unfortunate 
circumstances, a higher protection than any possible duty 
which could have been put on by the Canadian Government. 
It was fortunate for us, it was fortunate for those who look 
upon the prosperity of Canada as largely dependent upon a 
fiscal policy, at that time, when it was necessary — in order to 
secure this Confederation — to yield somewhat to the views of 
the Maritime Provinces, that we should, at the same time, be 
so situated in relation to the neighbouring Republic, that we 
had a state of affairs which secured us absolute, entire, and 
complete protection for all the industries of this country. You 
will remember, gentlemen, looking back at that time, that, 
down to 1873, the people of Canada suffered nothing from 
the reduction of the duties to fifteen per cent. The indus- 
tries of Canada suffered nothing in consequence of the change 
of tariff. On the contrary, prosperity prevailed in every part 
of the Dominion, and the industries which had been estab- 
lished under the tariff of 1858 continued and flourished. 
We were saved from that undue, that unfair competition 
which has since done so much to injure and paralyse our 
industries. We were saved from that during these years. 

“ Now, gentlemen, I am aware that there is a general 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

opinion prevailing that the high prices of articles in the 
United States at that time were due entirely to high import 
duties. I am aware that it is alleged as one of the reasons 
why we should avoid a protective policy, that the protective 
system at that time was a serious burden of taxes upon the 
people of the neighbouring Republic. No fallacy could be 
greater. What caused the high price of goods — as I shall be 
able to show to your entire satisfaction, I think, before I have 
done — was not the import duties, but the internal revenue 
duties which had nothing to do with protection — that internal 
system of taxation which, instead of being in favour, was 
directly against any idea of protection, because it is perfectly 
clear that if you put a duty, say of twenty-five per cent., on 
an article, in order that you may have it manufactured in 
the country, and then put on an internal revenue duty of 
twenty per cent., in order to raise a revenue, it is clear, I 
say, that the actual protection is reduced to five per cent., 
and not twenty-five per cent. It was, therefore, I say, the 
internal revenue system in the United States which at that 
time caused high prices for every thing purchased in that 
country. In 1873 a change again took place. The revenue 
system of the country was fast returning to its normal condi- 
tion. The ordinary industries of the United States were fast 
resuming their old state, in consequence of the removal of one 
duty after another in the internal revenue system, and things 
began to change so that from that time down to the present, 
under a steadily increasing ratio, cheapness became the rule 
instead of dearness for articles in the United States. 

“ You will remember, at least those living in large cities 
and I suppose some of you know in London, that it was not, 
an uncommon thing for American travellers and tourists to 
come to Canadian cities to purchase large supplies of what 
they required, and by a system of ‘ underground railway,’ take 
them to the United States, and thus save, by the difference of 
the prices here and there, enough to pay for a pleasant summer 
tour — which, therefore, cost them nothing. What is the fact 
to-day? In the city of Montreal and in the city of Toronto, 
and I daresay in the city of London, Americans no longer 

Mr. White’s Address on Protection. 


come to buy articles; but I know people in the city of Mon- 
treal who go to New York and there purchase goods — just as 
New Yorkers did in Montreal, four or five years ago, and they 
can purchase them cheaper than they can purchase them here, 
and by the same system of ‘ underground railway ’ they bring 
them to this side of the line, and make a large profit. This is 
a change recognized everywhere, and has done much to pro- 
voke the discussion and to revive the interest in the question 
of free trade and protection — which is the most marked feature 
of the discussions in the country during the last three or four 

“ I am compelled to refer to these discussions in dealing 
with the question which I have before me. I shall be com- 
pelled to refer to the utterances of public men ; I propose 
especially to take the utterances of the Finance Minister in his 
budget speech last session, not in a party sense, gentlemen, 
but simply in the sense that in that speech we have the most 
authoritative statement of the arguments of those who believe 
that the true policy of this country will be found in assimilat- 
ing our system as nearly as possible to that of England, and 
avoiding as far as we possibly can, that of the United States. 
It is in that sense, and in that sense only, that I propose to 
refer to the very able speech — admitted to be able by all 
parties — of Mr. Cartwright, during the last session of Parlia- 
ment. He put the case very practically. He stated a plain 
issue between one side and the other — it could hardly have 
been more distinctly put. What Mr. Cartwright said upon 
that point was as follows : ‘ It becomes us to consider the 
various remedies proposed for this unfortunate state of affairs.’ 
He was describing the depression and the demand for a revi- 
sion of the tariff, to which it had given rise. ‘ In the first place 
I desire to expend a few words on the general impression 
which prevails, even in quarters where we would hardly expect 
to find it, that it is in the power of this Government, of any 
Government, this Legislature or any Legislature, to make a 
country prosperous by the mere stroke of a pen or the enact- 
ment of Acts of Parliament. I would like honourable gentle- 
men in this house and out of it, who entertain that illusion, as 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

I consider it, to think to what such a course would lead, and I 
ask them if they are prepared to pay the price. You cannot 
have at one and the same time, a free Government and a 
paternal Government.’ I say, gentlemen, it is impossible to 
put the case of the two phases of the opinion on this question 
more strongly than it is here put. That is, whether a country 
can be rendered prosperous by a policy of a Government or 

“ We are fortunate, in dealing with this question, in having 
the practical experience of those who have studied the ques- 
tion in both its phases in the neighbouring republic. I pro- 
pose, therefore, rather than give my own opinions, to give you 
the opinion of some of those gentlemen ; and first I shall call 
your attention to an extract from a speech delivered by Mr. 
Granger on the Tariff Bill of New York, introduced into the 
House of Representatives at Washington in the year 1857. 
The subject then being discussed was that with which we are 
dealing to-night A Protection Bill had been introduced, a 
strong agitation existed on the subject, although the agitation 
was only successful in 1861, when the Act came into force 
before the war broke out. Here is Mr. Granger’s opinion of 
the tariff legislation, and its effects on the country. He says : 
— ‘ Since the war of 1812, we have at three different times 
resorted to a protective tariff, to relieve us from financial 
distress. From 1818 to 1824, with a mere revenue tariff, the 
balance of trade was against us, and, during that term of 
six years, our exports of specie exceeded our imports 
$10,000,000. This caused the protective tariff of 1824, and the 
effect of the change was soon felt. Confidence and activity 
returned, and, instead of exporting specie, we imported specie 
to a large amount. The effect was so obvious and gratifying 
that the still higher tariff of 1828 was enacted — the highest we 
ever had. Under these two protective tariffs of 1824 and 
1828 up to 1834, ten years, the whole country was blessed 
with a prosperity perhaps never before equalled in this or 
any other country. In these ten years of protection, from 
1824 to 1834, we imported thirty millions of specie more than 
we exported and paid off the debts of two wars — that of 

Protection in the United States. 


the revolution, and of 1812 — in all, principal and interest, 
$100,000,000. Next came the descending compromise tariff 
of Mr. Clay, reluctantly conceded to the opponents of protec- 
tion. By a sliding scale this tariff brought us down to a hori- 
zontal tariff of 20 per cent. The result was the Government 
soon found itself out of funds and out of credit. The tariff of 
1842 was arranged for protection and revenue incidentally. It 
justified the expectations of the most sanguine friends, but it 
was allowed only a brief existence. It was said in high places 
that the principle of Protection was wrong, and in an evil hour 
Congress adopted the maxim, and the tariff of 1842 was 
repealed, and that of 1846, the present one, substituted. Sir, 
unless we have a radical change in our tariff laws, we shall 
surely have another financial crash. We must manufacture 
more and import less, and keep our specie at home. We 
have a foreign debt of nearly $250,000,000. Protection is 
vastly more important to us now than revenue, but we can 
have them both at once if we will/ That, gentlemen, is 
the opinion of Mr. Granger on the tariff, in its relation to its 
effect on the country. He contended that if a change were 
not made in the tariff of the country, they would have a 
financial crash. Whether in consequence of the tariff not 
being altered, I do not pretend to say, but certainly the crash 
did come. 

“ I will give you another opinion — the opinion of an 
eminent United States public man — of a man who, however 
much one might differ from his political opinions, was 
respected by all, and who was deeply concerned for the pros- 
perity of the whole people of the United States. I refer to the 
late Horace Greeley. He said : — ‘ It is within my own recol- 
lection that, after the last war we carried on against Great 
Britain, there was a universal collapse ; foreign goods crowded 
our markets and American factories were shut up ; then was 
labour without employment and agriculture without recom- 
pense, which created a feeling that agitated the country. 
After eight years of commotion the tariff was enacted 
expressly for Protection. This was enhanced in 1828, and the 
country arose out of its misery and bankruptcy and collapse 



2 2 5 

The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

into prosperity and thrift. That I know, for I saw it.’ That 
was the confession of Mr. Greeley as to the power of the 
Government or Legislature, by the enactment of wise laws, at 
such times as it was deemed advisable, to affect the prosperity 
of the people. 

“ I will quote one other extract from the speech of another 
great man in the neighbouring Republic — a man whose name 
is honoured as that of a great man, not only in his own 
country, but wherever the English language is spoken — 
Mr. Henry Clay. He thus discusses the two periods of 
the country’s existence, under a Protective policy, and 
under a policy of Free Trade : — ‘ Eight years ago it was my 
painful duty to present to the other House of Congress an 
unexaggerated picture of the general distress pervading the 
whole land. We must all yet remember some of its frightful 
features. We all know that the people were then oppressed 
and borne down by an enormous load of debt ; that the value 
of property was at the lowest point of depression ; that 
ruinous sales and sacrifices were everywhere made of real 
estate ; that stop laws, and relief laws, and paper money, 
were adopted to save the people from impending destruction ; 
that a deficit in the public revenue existed, which compelled 
the Government to seize upon and divert from its legitimate 
object the appropriations to the Sinking Fund to redeem the 
national debt, and that our commerce and navigation were 
threatened with a complete paralysis. In short, sir, if I were 
to select any term of years since the adoption of the present 
constitution which exhibited a scene of the most widespread 
dismay and desolation, it would be exactly that term of seven 
years which immediately preceded the establishment of the 
tariff of 1824.’ That was a sufficiently gloomy picture of 
national distress ; but he had a brighter picture to present 
as its counterpart. ‘ I have now to perform the more pleas- 
ing task of exhibiting an imperfect sketch of the existing 
state of the unparalleled prosperity of the country. On a 
general survey, we behold cultivation extended, the arts flour- 
ishing, the face of the country improved, our people fully and 
profitably employed, and the public countenance exhibiting 

Destruction of the Direct Tea Trade. 


tranquility, contentment, and happiness. And, if we descend 
into particulars, we have the agreeable contemplation of a 
people out of debt ; land rising slowly in value, but in a 
secure and salutary degree ; a ready, though not extravagant, 
market for all the surplus productions of our industry ; in- 
numerable flocks and herds browsing and gamboling on ten 
thousand hills, and plains covered with rich and verdant 
grasses ; our cities expanded, and whole villages springing 
up, as it were, by enchantment ; our tonnage, foreign and 
coast-wise, swelling and fully occupied ; the rivers of our 
interior animated by the perpetual thunder and lightning of 
countless steamboats ; the currency sound and abundant ; 
the public debt of two wars nearly redeemed ; and, to crown 
all, the public treasury overflowing, embarassing Congress not 
to find subjects of taxation, but to select the objects which 
shall be liberated from the impost. If the term of seven years 
were to be selected of the greatest prosperity which this 
people have enjoyed since the establishment of their present 
constitution, it would be exactly that period of seven years 
which immediately followed the passage of the tariff of 1824, 
This transformation of the conditions of the country from 
gloom and distress to lightness and prosperity, has been 
mainly the work of American legislation fostering American 
industry, instead of allowing it to be controlled by foreign 
legislation cherishing foreign industry.’ That, gentlemen, 
is the opinion of Henry Clay, a great man, all will admit — 
a man fully competent to give an opinion on the effect of 
legislation upon the people, and it must be admitted by all 
parties that the inference which he drew, and the strong 
opinion which he gave utterance to, was contrary to the 
opinion of Mr. Cartwright, Mr. Clay being clearly of opinion 
that, under certain conditions, the Legislature could pass 
such measures as, under certain conditions, would improve 
and enhance the prosperity of the people. (Applause). 

“ But, gentlemen, we are able to prove that Mr. Clay was 
right by our own experience in Canada. I have already 
referred to the effect of the tariff passed in 1858. Every one 
will admit that the effect of that tariff was to increase the 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

prosperity of our country by the building up of manufactures. 
It did more. By its adoption of the ad valorem as opposed 
to the specific system of duties a direct trade was built up, 
the effect of which has been to produce this magnificent result 
— that Canada to-day stands fourth amongst the maritime 
nations of the world. (Applause). You will remember that 
in 1872, the American Government took the duty off tea. 
Sir Francis Hincks, then Financial Minister in Canada, 
recognizing the fact that it would be well for Canada to adopt 
a similar policy, took the duty off tea imported into Canada. 
But after he had passed the Bill taking off the duty, he dis- 
covered that the American people (following the course they 
generally adopt) considering their own interests as opposed 
to the interests of Great Britain and this country, had a clause 
in their law by which a duty of 10 per cent, was charged on 
all tea imported from countries west of the Cape of Good 
Hope. There was nothing said in this clause about Canada 
or Great Britain ; but they were (as they were really meant 
to be) alone included ; and, of course 10 per cent., special 
duty, was charged on all tea exported by way of Canada to 
the United States. Sir Francis Hincks, with that acuteness 
which all parties admit he possesses, with that instinct in 
relation to the interests of the people which is peculiarly his 
own ; said that if we permitted Free Trade with the United 
States, and allowed them to charge 10 per cent, duty, the 
effect would be the transfer of the entire tea trade to the 
United States. Sir Francis, therefore, passed an Act in the 
same session, providing that the Governor in Council might, 
by Order in Council, impose a duty on all tea coming from 
the United States, equal to the duty charged by the United 
States on tea imported into that country from Canada, and 
that Act had preserved to Canada its own tea trade, and we 
enjoyed all its advantages. 

“ A direct trade was fast springing up, and was becoming 
one of the great factors of the country’s prosperity when, in 
1874, Mr. Cartwright proposed again to alter the duties. He 
did not put on the 10 per cent., and what was the result? It 
was that the direct tea trade of Canada was destroyed by a 

Destruction of the Direct Tea Trade. 


stroke of the pen embodied in an Act of the Legislature. Many 
men in the City of Montreal, prominent tea men, had actually 
been compelled to leave that city and go to the United States, 
from whence they are issuing circulars to the trade all over 
the Dominion of Canada, hoping from that point to do the 
business which they formerly did from the Canadian city. 
And the same from all our cities as the result of that simple 
matter of 10 per cent. I am aware that it is said that there 
never was 10 per cent, before Sir Francis Hincks put it on ; 
and that, therefore, Mr. Cartwright did simply what had 
always been done by previous Governments. Let me show 
that that argument is not strictly a fair one. When we had 
tea duties before, they were part ad valorem and part specific. 
To the extent that they were ad valorem , they were a direct 
premium upon a direct trade — that this, a duty charged upon 
the article at the point of export (in China, for instance) 
coming here. To the extent the duty was ad valorem , it was 
a direct incentive to direct trade. Men going to the city of 
New York to purchase a quantity of tea would be compelled 
to pay duty on the charges of getting it to New York, as well 
as on the actual cost of the tea ; but if he got it direct from 
China he had only to pay ad valorem rate upon the prices 
in China. So that, practically, we had what was equivalent 
to the 10 per cent, differential duty in this understanding. 
But by the system of to-day that has been taken away. 

“ Then, gentlemen, you remember the effect in connection 
with the sugar duties. Owing to the American ‘ drawback ’ 
which is simply a bounty concealed as a ‘ drawback ’ — our 
refineries in Canada have actually been compelled to close up. 
I am not going to discuss that question in all its bearings. 
As Dundreary says : ‘ It is one of those questions which no 
fellow can understand/ But the prominent fact we know is 
that 400 heads of families have been thrown out of employ- 
ment ; the refineries have been shut up, and a direct incentive 
to West India trade, as I shall show further on, has been des- 
troyed, simply for want of legislation, for want of ‘a stroke of 
the pen embodied in legislation/ which would meet the policy 
of the United States in giving their heavy ‘drawback’ to 

2 30 

The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

American refiners, by which they are able to glut this market. 
Indeed, Mr. Cartwright practically admits that the action of 
the Government may materially affect the condition of the 
people, for here let me give another extract from that speech: 

‘ Any man who carefully examines the working of their sys- 
tem,’ that is the American system, ‘will find that their high tariff 
had tended most materially to enrich a very few and seriously 
impoverish the great masses of the people. I believe the crea- 
tion of collossal fortunes, such as has taken place there (in the 
United States), and perhaps in other countries, does threaten 
serious mischief. I have no objection to the accumulation of 
reasonable independence, nor do I indulge any hope of enact- 
ing sumptuary laws to limit the amount which any man 
should accumulate in a life-time ; but I do say that anything 
which overrides the ordinary natural laws, and operates in the 
direction of large accumulations in a few hands, is dangerous 
and ought to be discouraged,’ Now, gentlemen, without for a 
moment arguing that point at this time, I think you will agree 
with me that it cannot be said in one and the same speech, or 
at any rate it ought not, that it is not in the power of Legisla- 
ture by a stroke of the pen, or by any mere Act of Parliament, 
to affect the prosperity of the people, while at the same time you 
may so far effect them as to allow the building up of colossal 
fortunes in the hands of the few, and seriously to impoverish 
the many. (Loud applause). 

“ There is, however, a great deal of difficulty in keeping 
our free trade friends to any direct line of argument. I have 
shown you that Mr. Cartwright’s views — and his views are 
those of a great many others — are that the effect of protection 
is to build up colossal fortunes in the hands of the few, to the 
prejudice of the great mass of the people. Now, what does 
David Wells say as to this — and this statement of Mr. Wells* 
is quoted by Mr. Cartwright, and I take the quotation from 
the speech of that gentleman : ‘ Every prophecy so confi- 
dently made in the past as to the results of protection in 
inducing national prosperity has been falsified, and one has 
only to pick out the separate industries which have been 

Does Protection build up Fortunes? 


especially protected to find out the ones which are more 
especially unprofitable and dependent 

“ It is sufficient to say that the existing depression and 
stagnation is without parallel, eight of the principal mills of 
the country having been sold, on compulsion, within a 
comparatively recent period, for much less than fifty per cent, 
of their cost of construction ; the Glendham mills in particular 
— one of the largest and best equipped woollen establishments 
in the United States, advantageously located on the Hudson, 
about fifty miles above New York, and representing over one 
million of dollars paid in — having changed hands since April 
1st, last, for a consideration of less than two hundred thousand 
dollars. Here, then, we have Mr. Wells’ assurance that ‘ one 
has only to pick out separate industries especially protected to 
find out those unprofitable.’ 

“Now, gentlemen, that statement may be right, or it may 
be wrong. I am not going to say whether it is right or wrong ; 
but what I am going to say is this : that if the effect of 
protection has been to destroy the industries which were 
protected, and that they have been unprofitable and dependent 
just in proportion as they have been protected, then it cannot 
be true that the effect of protection is to build up colossal 
fortunes in the hands of a few to the prejudice of the many. 
(Applause). If, however — and I think that is an important 
statement to consider — if it be true that the effect of 
protection is to build up colossal fortunes in the hands of the 
few, and to seriously impoverish the great masses of the people 
— then, gentlemen, I say that is a good argument against 
protection, and no really true-hearted, honest, patriotic man 
ought, for one moment, to advocate it. The principle should 
be, undoubtedly, ‘ the greatest good for the greatest number.’ 
If the effect of protection is simply to benefit the few to the 
injury of the many, then, I say, let the few perish, but give us 
prosperity for the many. (Hear, hear). That, undoubtedly, is 
what every honest, patriotic man would say. But what are the 
facts ? 

“ Let us look at them, and in the light of them judge 
whether the effect of protection is ‘ to build colossal fortunes 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

in the hands of the few, and seriously to impoverish the masses 
of the people.’ Now, we have two countries which may fairly 
be taken as illustrations of the two systems. We have Eng- 
land on the one side — which, however, is not a fair illustration 
of the free trade system as applied to the world over, for the 
reason that the peculiar position of England, her immense 
wealth, her tremendous accumulations of coal and iron lying 
together ; her insular position, her command of an enormous 
mercantile marine, many of which advantages were built up 
by a system of protection and restriction as great as that 
which ever prevailed in any other country — I say these advan- 
tages give her a position which renders it impossible to cite 
her for illustration for a country like Canada, or the United 
States twenty-five or fifty years ago. We are urged to adopt 
England’s policy, I presume, because the policy there does 
not, it would seem, build up colossal fortunes in the hands of 
the few, and does not seriously impoverish the great masses 
of the people. The United States is cited as an example 
which should deter us, because its system does build up 
colossal fortunes in the hands of the few, and seriously impov- 
erishes the many. I have no desire to say one word against the 
dear old mother land, but we are dealing with practical ques- 
tions, and we must deal with them as facts present themselves 
to us. I say, what is the position ? There is one fact in 
relation to the United States and Canada of which I think we 
may be proud, both Americans and Canadians — that is, in no 
country on the face of the earth is the distribution of the 
wealth, and the comforts which produce wealth, so general 
and universal as on this North American continent, both sides 
of the lines. (Hear, hear). 

“ Look at one fact I will give you as an illustration of the 
distribution of the wealth among the masses of the people in 
the United States. According to the report of the Imperial 
Commissioners on Emigration — and that is an authority which 
ought to be accepted without cavil — in one year, in 1870, there 
were sent from America in amounts to pay the passages of 
immigrants to come to the United States — and these were 
sent by people who had themselves come out, and were com- 

England and United States Compared. 235 

paratively poor — the enormous sum of £ 727 , 408 sterling, or in 
round figures $3,627,040; while in the twenty-three years from 
1848 to 1870 inclusive, the amount they sent over was 
16,334,000 sterling, or an average, annually, of $3,550,870. 
These are the evidences of the condition of the great masses 
of the people in the United States. What is the condition of 
the poor in England ? On this point I will not cite hostile 
testimony, but I will quote English opinions. Mr. John Bright 
should be taken as a correct exponent on this question, if 
any man may be. He says : ‘ There are one million people 
who are paupers on the parish in England, and another 
million are perpetually lingering on the very verge of paup- 
erism.’ What does Sir Morton Peto say : ‘It is an awful 
consideration that in England, abounding as it does with 
wealth and prosperity, there are nearly a million of human 
beings receiving indoor and outdoor relief as paupers in the 
different unions, besides the still greater number dependent 
upon the hand of charity. As the population of England 
and Wales, by the late census, were 20,205,504, it follows 
that nearly one-twentieth part of our people are subsisting 
upon charity.’ 

“ Then I will quote Mr. Joseph Kay, a Cambridge man, in 
a work on the condition of British workmen : ‘The poor of Eng- 
land are more depressed, more pauperized, more numerous in 
comparison to the other classes, more irreligious, and very much 
worse educated than the poor of any other European nation, 
solely excepting Russia, Turkey, South Italy, Portugal and 
Spain.’ Lord Napier says, and his statement, it will be seen, 
has direct reference to the point urged by Mr. Cartwright : 
‘ The proportion of those who possess, to those who possess 
nothing, is probably smaller in some parts of England 
at this moment, than it ever was in any settled community, 
except in some of the republics of antiquity, where the 
business of mechanical industry was delegated to slaves.’ 
Judge Byles, another English authority, writes as follows : — 
‘ In the fierce struggle of universal competition, those whom 
the climate enables, or misery forces, or slavery compels, to 
live worse and produce cheapest, will necessarily beat out 

236 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

of the market and starve those whose wages are better. It is 
a struggle between the working classes of all nations, which 
shall descend first and nearest to the condition of brutes/ 
That is a very hard sentence, but unfortunately I am afraid 
that, under free trade conditions, it is only too accurate a 
statement of conditions of labour and successful competition. 
The City Chamberlain of Glasgow reports that : ‘ By the 
census of 1861 more than 28,000 houses in Glasgow were 
found to consist of but a single apartment each, and above 
32,000 of but two, so that of the whole 82,000 families com- 
prising the city, upwards of 60,000 were housed in dwellings 
of one or two apartments each. 

“ Now, gentlemen, having given you these English author- 
ities as to the condition of the masses in England, let me give 
you an extract from an English authority, concerning the con- 
dition of the masses in the United States, under a system, 
which, according to Mr. Cartwright, ought to seriously 
impoverish the great masses of the people while creating 
colossal fortunes in the hands of a few. Let me give you the 
opinion of Mr. Archibald, British Consul at New York — I find 
it in a blue book which has been compiled from the reports of 
different consuls on the conditions of labour in all parts of the 
world, and submitted to the Imperial Parliament in 1872 — and 
what does he say : ‘ The value of intelligent labour has never 
been so much appreciated in the United States as during 
the last twelve years. A completion of railway facilities 
linking the new States of the North-West to the eastern sea- 
board ; a rapid development of the agricultural resources of 
these States by the vast crowds of immigrants brought over 
by the transatlantic steamships, which, in return, convey into 
their holds the cereal and other agricultural products of the 
labour they have borne to these shores ; a protective tariff 
stimulating for the last ten years the industries of the older 
States ; the social condition and political institutions of the 
country, promising advantages to the immigrant and his 
children, not so fully enjoyed in their native lands ; have all 
combined in presenting inducements to the working classes of 
Europe, of which they have not been slow to avail themselves, 

England and United States Compared. 237 

as is shown by the statistics of immigration. . . There is 

probably no country in the world, which, outside of the immi- 
gration ports, offers equal advantages to the operators or 
farm labourers/ That is the testimony of Mr. Archibald in 
relation to the people in that country, under whose system, 
according to those who argue in favour of Free Trade, colossal 
fortunes should have been built up by a few, and the great 
masses impoverished. (Applause). 

Now, there is another argument used by those who call 
themselves free traders — I again quote from the speech of 
Mr. Cartwright in the same sense as before — and this is, that 
— ‘ The effect of a high tariff is not to add to any extent to the 
population of the country, but to promote an artificial trans- 
ference from the rural districts to the towns and cities at 
the expense of the agricultural interests. If you discriminate 
against the agricultural interests, if you enact that they shall 
receive less from the results of their labour than they would 
without your interference, then you undoubtedly promote an 
artificial transference from the country to the town. 

There is not the slightest doubt that this has been one — 
although I will not say a very great — cause of the commercial 
depression in this country. I say the onus is now thrown upon 
those who advocate a high protective tariff. Let them con- 
sider what they ask this country to do. They ask 11s to tax 
nineteen-twentieths of the population for the sake of the 

“ I agree that there is no justice in assisting to build 
up one class at the expense of another. If that fact could 
be established — and it was almost a shibboleth of free 
traders — I would give up my advocacy of protection. The 
question is, does protection discriminate ? In regard to this 
point I will give a quaint illustration advanced by Mr. 
Horace Greeley in 1873, as to the mutual interests of the 
people in this system. He says : ‘ I am a printer of news- 
papers, and I have no other product to sell ; and whatever I 
buy must be bought from the proceeds of the sale of news- 
papers. Now, I am a consumer of iron, and in my business, 
probably, have 100 tons of iron in the basement only of 

238 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

the building in which I work. I want to buy it cheaper ; but, 
in order to do so, I must consider, not merely what the price 
is in dollars, but how I shall get the dollars. Now, I say, give 
me iron makers who will buy my newspapers off me, and I 
can afford to give them more for the iron I need than I can 
give to the iron-workers who cannot, in the nature of things, 
and will not, purchase my paper. This is a very simple 
proposition, but it covers the whole ground.’ Mr. Greely, by 
using American iron, secured employment for a large number 
of people, who bought his paper. They made him more 
prosperous, though he paid more for his iron, and thus the 
mutual interest is admirably established. 

“ Then we have another statement by another man, whose 
name had doubtless been heard of — General Jackson. He 
was arguing in favour of Protection in the interest of the 
agriculturist, he being a representative of an agricultural 
county, and what does he say : ‘ I will ask what is the real 
situation of the agriculturist ? Where has the American 
farmer a market for his surplus products ? Except for cotton 
he has neither a foreign nor a home market. Does not this 
clearly prove, when there is no market at home or abroad, 
that there is too much labour employed in agriculture, and 
that the channels of labour should be multiplied ? Common 
sense points out at once the remedy. Draw from agriculture 
the superabundant labour, employ it in mechanism and 
manufactures, thereby creating a home market for your bread- 
stuffs, and distributing labour to a most profitable account, 
and benefits to the country will result. Take from agriculture 
in the United States six hundred thousand men, women and 
children, and you at once give a home market for more bread- 
stuffs than all Europe now furnishes. In short, sir, we have 
been too long subject to the policy of British merchants. It 
is time we should become a little more Americanized, and 
instead of feeding the paupers and labourers of Europe, feed 
our own, or else, in a short time, by continuing our present 
policy, we shall be paupers ourselves. It is, therefore, my 
opinion that a careful tariff is much wanted to pay our 
national debt and afford us the means of that defence within 

Protection does not Increase Prices. 


ourselves on which the safety and liberty of our country 
depend, and last, though not least, give a proper distribution 
to our labour, which must prove beneficial to the happiness, 
independence and wealth of the community.’ 

“ This was written in 1823, if I remember rightly. Now, 
I think it must be admitted that the argument was fairly 
put, and accorded with experience. Look at our own experi- 
ence. What was the value of great centres of trade and 
industry? Take London and the farms around it. What 
renders the farms here more valuable and the farmers 
more wealthy than they would be if they were in Mus- 
koka ? You say at once, because they have a home 
market. There is a large number of people here that require 
their products ; and the fact is seen that the advantage of the 
farmer is in the building of these centres of population. 
Protection does not discriminate against the farmers. 
It is a most remarkable doctrine that the farmers are 
injured by the people becoming consumers rather than 
producers of agricultural products.” Mr. White then 
proceeded to point out “ that the measure of taxation of 
the people is the requirement of the Government. If 
they require $23,000,000 they must raise it, no matter how ; 
if no more, they do not require to raise it ; and if in raising it 
they so distribute it as to enhance large industries, he main- 
tained it was for the benefit of the country, and did not add 
to the taxes of the people. But if the effect of protection 
is to enhance the price of certain articles, then there is a 
taxation of one interest for the benefit of another. But I 
contend that protection does not necessarily and perman- 
ently increase the cost of the articles protected, and in support 
of that proposition I will give two or three instances from the 

“ The first extract would be from a publication recently 
made on the iron trade of America : ‘ Before axes were made 
in this country, except by country blacksmiths, English axes 
cost our farmers and others from $2 to $4 each. By the tariff 
of 1828, a protective duty of thirty-five per cent, was levied 
upon imported axes. Under this protection the Collins Com- 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

pany of Hartford, introduced labor-saving machinery, much of 
which was invented, patented, and constructed by themselves. 
In 1836 foreign and home made axes were selling side by side 
in the American market at $15 and $16 per dozen, at which 
time foreign producers withdrew their competition, abandoning 
the entire market to American manufacturers. Then home 
rivalry and improved methods continued the decline in prices. 
Axes were selling in 1838 at $13 to $15.25 per dozen; in 1840 
at $13 to $14; in 1843 at $11 to $12; in 1845 at $10.50 to 
$11; in 1849 at $8 to $10. In 1876 the price of the best 
American axes in the market is $9.50 per dozen, currency > 
and the country exports large quantities to foreign markets.’ 
Now, that is the effect of protection upon one article — that of 

“ Then, in the same publication, we have this extract : ‘ A 
list of the wholesale prices at New York of fifty-seven leading 
articles of hardware and cutlery, prepared for us by Mr. David 
Williams, publisher of The Iron Age , shows that more than 
half of them are cheaper in currency in 1876 than gold in 
i860, with two exceptions; the remainder are as cheap now 
as in i860.’ 

* But, strangely enough, I have Mr. Cartwright’s own 
admission that the effect will not be to increase the price. He 
says : ‘ As to the curious allegations made by the protection- 
ists that if our manufacturing friends are sufficiently protected 
it will not increase the cost to the consumer, as sufficient 
competition will arise to cut down prices so low that we shall 
be just as well off as under the present tariff, I have simply 
this to say, that I think in time that result would be produced, 
but I also think it would take time, and during that period a 
few gentlemen would make large fortunes, while the rest of 
the community would have to pay an enormous price for that 
benefit. But I may add, sir, if that is to be the result, if the 
desire of the protectionists is by internal competition to cut 
down the standard of prices, I would strongly recommend 
the gentlemen to begin now, and by these means defy compe- 
tition.’ I think the latter statement unworthy of any public 
man. Mr. Cartwright knows — and every intelligent man must 

Canada as a Slaughter Market. 

24 r 

know — that the condition for building up industries is to 
accumulate capital around them. And how can capital be 
best accumulated ? By the protection of young industries, 
that they may be able to grow up in our midst. And to tell 
manufacturers that they are to invest their capital, and start 
their enterprises, and then to be subjected to the unfair 
‘ slaughtering 5 of a neighbouring nation, is simply to insult 
the intelligence of every manufacturer in the land. (Applause). 

“ And now I come to a question which has recently, and 
with considerable cause, too, given rise to a great deal of 
discussion in this country. I refer to the fact of Canada being 
made a slaughter market for the United States. Mr. Cart- 
wright admits this when he says : c I don’t propose at 
this moment to enter fully into the discussion raised as to 
Canada being a sacrifice or slaughter market. But I must 
admit, candidly and honestly, that I have no doubt that the 
distress of the manufacturers has been aggravated — though I 
will not say to what extent — by this cause.’ That is a fair 
admission of Mr. Cartwright, and every one knows it is only 
too true — that Canada has been made a slaughter market for 
the United States. And the United States is not an except 
tional case to this rule. It is the object of all large manufac- 
turing communities to kill off small manufacturing commun- 
ities, first by opposing a high tariff, and then by flooding the 
markets of its less able competitor. Here is a statement 
made by Lord Brougham in the House of Lords in 1816: 
‘ It is well worth while to incur a loss upon the first exporta- 
tion, in order by the glut to stifle in the cradle those rising 
manufactures in the United States which the war has forced 
into existence contrary to the natural course of things.’ Lord 
Brougham’s opinion of the ‘natural state of things’ was that 
the people of this country should be hewers of wood and 
drawers of water to the manufacturers of the mother land. 
With all due respect to the memory of Lord Brougham, I 
think the people of this country will differ from him. 

“Not only that, but in 1854 an English Royal Parlia- 
mentary Commission reported : ‘ The labouring classes, gen- 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

erally in the manufacturing districts of this country, and 
especially in the iron and coal districts, are very little aware 
of the extent to which they are often indebted for their being 
employed at all, to the immense losses which their employers 
voluntarily incur in bad times in order to destroy foreign com- 
petition, and to gain and keep possession of foreign markets. 
The large capital of this country is the great instrument of 
warfare against the competing capital of foreign countries, and 
the most essential instruments now remaining by which our 
manufacturing supremacy can be maintained.’ The great 
object which they had in view was even to the extent of sacri- 
fice, to kill off whatever manufactures appeared to be spring- 
ing up in other countries, in order that they might secure the 
market for themselves. 

“ While that process is going on, it is quite true you may 
have cheap goods, while industries are being destroyed, while 
capital is being driven from the country, while men who were 
employed among you are compelled to ‘take up stakes’ and, 
with their families, seek in a more prosperous place the 
employment denied them here — while all these things are 
going on you may have goods cheaper ; but the moment rival 
manufactories are put out of sight, the instant the object is 
attained, there is no longer any sacrifice of the goods, and you 
have to pay the price the manufacturer chooses to exact. 
(Hear, hear). 

“ Now, I am aware that it is said in answer to what I have 
just been saying, that it is an inevitable rule of political econ- 
omy that consumers always pay the duty. On tea in this 
country, that is true, because we do not produce tea ; on rice, 
that is true, because we do not produce rice ; on whatever we 
cannot produce that is quite true — that the consumer must 
pay the duty on the cost of the article. But that is not true in 
relation to articles which we do produce ; and I can give you 
two illustrations. When Mr. Galt brought in his tariff of 1858 
the Sheffield manufacturers petitioned the Imperial Govern- 
ment to disallow the Act. To them it was horrible that 
colonists like us should be guilty of establishing manufactories 
and competing with their mightinesses in Sheffield, and they 

Canada as a Slaughter Market. 


implored the Government of that day to say, as Lord 
Brougham put it, that ‘the natural condition of things should 
be restored.’ While they furnished the articles, it should be 
matter of no moment to them what the duties were if the 
consumer paid the duty. But it was because they knew that 
we did not pay the duty, and because we were competing with 
them, and compelling them to reduce the prices that they 
petitioned the Imperial Government. 

“ But I will notice for a moment a question put by my 
friend, Mr. Mills, a short time ago, when he addressed the 
Chamber of Commerce in this city, and I notice it because a 
question put by him assumes an importance which it would 
not otherwise have. The question is, ‘ if protection was good, 
why did not England adopt it ?’ Well, that does seem a ‘poser’ 
for protectionists. But, gentlemen, I will just show you two 
English authorities, giving one of the reasons why England 
adopted free trade in the first instance, and inferentially why 
it continues free trade. Mr. Robertson, M.P., during the 
discussion on Free Trade said : ‘It was idle for us to endeav- 
our to persuade other nations to join with us in adopting the 
principles of what was called Free Trade. Other nations knew, 
as well as the noble lord opposite and those who acted with 
him, what we meant by Free Trade was nothing more or less 
than, by means of the great advantages we enjoyed, to get 
monopoly of all their markets for our manufacturers, and to 
prevent them, one and all, from ever becoming manufacturing 
nations.’ In this extract and in others that I have quoted, 
you have the answer to Mr. Mills’ question. Possessing the 
numerous advantages which England possesses, she can afford 
to become the apostle of Free Trade, in order that the prev- 
alence of her opinions may secure the uninterrupted control of 
foreign markets for her manufacturers. (Applause). I will 
refer once more to the speech by Mr. Mills, delivered here. I 
accept his challenge, and I assert that the following grounds 
are true in respect to protection : It increases capital ; it 
increases labour ; it stimulates trade ; it improves appliances. 

“ And now, gentlemen, I have a word to say in reference 
to whether this policy is appropriate to Canada. We are a 

VOL II. t6 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

colony of the British Empire, and God grant that we may 
long remain so. (Hear, hear, and applause). We have had 
discussions as to whether it is advisable to have independ- 
ence for this country ; and we have had discussions whether 
it would be better to have Canada annexed to the United 
States ; and there have been proposals to establish an Amer- 
ican Zollverein. The independence cry is dead, and we will 
bury it out of sight. So far as an American Zollverein is 
concerned, I had the pleasure of being appointed one of 
the delegates of the Dominion Board of Trade to the meet- 
ing of the National Board of Trade at St. Louis. We went 
there with the instructions to try and have a reciprocity in 
trade established. They were anxious to have Free Trade 
with us, but they wanted a deal more than reciprocity. 
They proposed to abolish the entire Custom Houses along the 
line, and that Canada and the United States should impose 
equal duties on all articles coming from other countries. That 
was simply to cut connection with Great Britain — -(hear, hear) 
— because to combine with another power to discriminate 
against the mother land was simply to declare separation 
from her. And the honest course would be to separate at 
once. (Applause). 

“ We, of course, did not accede to the proposal. But the 
National Board passed a resolution— I am afraid as a mere 
matter of courtesy to the Canadian delegates — which they 
have repeated at every meeting since then, without any 
influence on the Government, that it was desirable to have 
reciprocity with this country. Our greatest competitor is the 
United States. They slaughter in this country because of its 
proximity. Everyone must see that when a nation has manu- 
facturing power for 40,000,000 people, it can as easily, and 
with scarcely any additional cost, manufacture for 44,000,000. 
They are thus enabled, during certain seasons, to sell their 
goods in this country at a mere nothing rather than force them 
into their own market, during a dull season, and thus bring 
down the price there. By slaughtering their goods in this 
country, they are enabled not only to keep up their own prices 
but to kill off our manufactures. (Applause). 

Reciprocity in Manufactures Impossible. 245 

“ And what we have to complain of is, that this advantage 
is given to the United States, whose trade regulations are 
hostile to us, and whose whole fiscal policy has been against 
us. (Hear, hear, and applause). And the only policy you 
are met with by the United States, when you wish a change, 
is inimical to your interests ; not a policy to your advantage, 
but one which they consider will have the ultimate effect of 
driving us into annexation. We propose a policy to put a 
stop to this feeling, which every Canadian must dislike. It 
is said we cannot adopt a differential duty. Mr. Irving, 
during the debate in the House of Commons last year, made 
some very appropriate remarks on this subject. He cited 
a clause of the Convention of Commerce, in 1815, which is 
commonly said to show that we cannot adopt these differ- 
ential duties. Here is the clause : ‘ No higher or other duties 
shall be imposed on the importations into the territories of 
his Britannic Majesty in Europe, of any articles the growth, 
produce, or manufacture of the United States, and no higher 
or other duties shall be imposed on the importation into the 
United States of any articles, the growth, produce, or manu- 
facture of His Britannic Majesty’s territories in Europe, than 
are or shall be payable on like articles being the growth, 
produce, or manufacture of any other foreign country.’ It is 
quite clear from that clause that England cannot adopt a 
system of differential duties, as against the United States. 
But the next clause goes on to say : ‘ The intercourse be- 
tween the United States and His Britannic Majesty’s posses- 
sions in the West Indies, or on the continent of North 
America, shall not be affected by any of the provisions of 
this article, but each party shall remain in the complete 
possession of his rights.’ Not only, therefore, is there nothing 
in that treaty which prevents us from adopting differential 
duties, but there is an express provisions in it that we shall 
not be so prevented. And we have had differential duties 
as late as 1847. Not only that, but the tea duty of Sir 
Francis Hincks was a differential tariff. It was placed on 
your statute book, and there was not any attempt by the 
United States or England to prevent it. That is a system of 

246 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

differential duties which may be fairly placed on articles at 
the present time. 

“ Many people say we should have reciprocity. No doubt 
for a great many people it would be well to have reciprocity. 
No doubt the farmer, living on the frontier would feel it to 
be an advantage. No doubt he must feel a hardship in the 
farmer of the United States being allowed to bring his pro- 
duce to sell in the Canadian market without being charged 
a duty, and he (the Canadian) unable to take his produce 
oyer to the United States without paying a heavy duty. 
Reciprocity in the natural products of the country would be 
a good thing. But I do not believe that reciprocity, in regard 
to manufactured goods, is possible. If we took off the duty 
on goods imported from the United States, we could not, as 
loyal subjects, impose duties on goods brought from the 
mother country. If we have free interchange with the United 
States, we must have the same with Britain. (Applause .. 
All protection against the mother country would thus be 
gone. We would find ourselves in this position : We would 
have the country free to the United States and to Britain, 
and would be unable to maintain, much less to increase, our 
present manufactures, while the United States would be pro- 
tected from all the countries of the world. 

“ There is another argument I wish to advance in favour 
of protection. It promotes immigration. Emigrants from 
the mother land, on arriving in this country, do not all want 
to be sent into the woods to earn a livelihood ; do not all 
desire to leave the occupations taught them at home, in order 
to become agriculturists here. They want a diversity of 
employment, and unless we have legislation of the kind I have 
mentioned, legislation which will permit the skilled workman 
to continue his calling in this country, they will most assuredly 
wend their way to the United States, and seek there that 
employment which, through a narrowsighted policy, is denied 
them here. We have vast territories to fill up in the North- 
West and British Columbia, that glorious land which Lord 
Dufferin so lately visited, and spoke so approvingly of. It is 
our duty to fill up these vast territories, to develop their 

Dominion Board of Trade’s Declaration. 


wonderful resources, and we can best assist in doing so by the 
adoption of a policy which will tend to improve the condition 
of the manufacturer, and in the nature of things materially 
benefit all classes of the community. We don’t want to be 
hewers of wood and drawers of water for our neighbours for 
all time to come. That is not our object. Our aim should be 
to legislate to build up Canadian interests, that capital may 
find profitable investment, labour diversified employment, and 
the people prosperous and contented homes.” 

Mr. White resumed his seat amid loud and long continued 

Mr. Carling said “he had great pleasure indeed in moving 
the thanks of the citizens of London to Mr. White for his very 
able and instructive lecture. Mr. White had come to this city 
at great inconvenience to himself, at the request of the Board 
of Trade, and he was quite sure that the citizens of London 
would highly appreciate his able lecture. It was not a ques- 
of politics he had come amongst us to discuss. It was a vital 
question, aud deeply affected the commercial interests of the 
Dominion. It was to determine whether a policy should be 
adopted calculated to induce parties to live amongst us, or to 
deter them from assisting us in building up the new Dominion. 
If Free Trade was better calculated to do that, then let us have 
it. If protection was deemed the best policy for Canada, then 
let us pin our faith to it. It was our duty to weigh well the 
views advanced by representative men of both people, and 
then decide which is the best for the country. Let us adopt a 
national policy. In concluding he spoke of his friend, Mr. 
White, whom he had known personally and politically for over 
twenty years, as a gentleman who was certain to hold a high 
position in this country, and who had worked his way up from 
a small beginning at Peterboro’ to be one of the leading 
thinkers in the commercial metropolis of Canada. (Applause). 
Mr. White was highly respected as a man of talent and ability, 
and he (the speaker) was acquainted with no man whose 
judgment he would sooner rely upon for a sound opinion than 
Mr. Thomas White.” (Loud applause). 

A day or two later Mr. White tested the question at a 

248 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

meeting of the Dominion Board of Trade by moving the fol- 
lowing resolution : 

“ That in the opinion of this Board the principle of Pro-, 
tection to the manufactures of the country is of vital impor- 
tance to its prosperity, and that, in any revision of the tariff, 
this principle should be embodied, especially in the case 
of such articles as the unfair and unequal competition has 
pressed most heavily upon.” He called attention to the fact 
that the figures quoted by Col. Walker were taken from the 
Trade and Navigation returns for the period ending July 1, 
1875, and did not give any idea of the condition of affairs 
during the last eighteen months, the very period in which the 
slaughtering complained of had been carried on most exten- 
sively. He also called attention to the fact that the import 
trade of the United States had largely increased under a 
Protective tariff, having more than doubled since 1861. He 
pointed out that in Free Trade England, when Commissioners 
met in 1865 to agree upon a system of sugar duties with other 
countries, a rule was adopted that in case any one of the 
nations represented at the Convention should offer bounties, 
any or all the others should be permitted to increase the tax 
to an equivalent extent. He denied that Canadian consumers 
got the benefit of the bounty to refiners in the United States, 
and the action of the British Commissioners in providing 
against such a contingency proved this. The fact was our 
fiscal policy was driving the consumer out of the country, 
and diminishing the trade of the Dominion. While we were 
proposing to subsidize steamers to carry the mails to the 
West Indies, we were by our sugar duties destroying the trade 
with that country. He agreed with Mr. Wood, of Quebec, 
that the prosperity of the United States was largely due to 
the Free Trade between the several States. But suppose any 
one of those States found itself surrounded by high tariffs, 
while it had no protection itself? What would be the result? 
It would drive manufactures from the unprotected State. 
That was precisely the position in which Canada stood. It 
was against such a condition of affairs that his amendment 
was directed, and he asked the Board to adopt it. 

Dominion Board of Trade’s Declaration. 249 

The amendment was seconded by Mr. Sanford. 

Mr. Lyman said of late years he had observed a great 
increase in the numbers of those favourable to Protection. 
It had always amazed him to see Montreal importers vote 
against Protection, for the most important thing for an 
importer is to have consumers. Without manufactories there 
could be no employment for emigrants and artizans, and they 
had to drift off to the United States to find it. There could 
be no doubt of the intention of the United States manufact- 
turers slaughtering their goods in this country in order to 
secure it as a market. They had been told that the United 
States had suffered from Protection. He would like very 
much to see Canada suffer in the same way, as they had 
all seen the extraordinary growth of the Republic during the 
last century. As for over-production in this country crowding 
our own markets, there was no such thing. The over-produc- 
tion arose not from the produce of our manufacturers, but 
from the heavy importation of foreign goods on a low tariff. 
Importation governed the price of the whole quantity in the 
market, as home manufacturers had to conform to the prices 
quoted in the trade lists of the agents of foreign houses. 
When capitalists preferred to invest their money in the 
United States instead of Canada, it was a sure indication that 
they favoured a protective tariff. 

Mr. Thomson called attention to the boot and shoe trade 
of Canada, which was prospering under a 17 % per cent, tariff, 
and he would like to know why it was that other industries 
did not prosper also. He was opposed to any great increase 
in the tariff, and especially to a 25 per cent, tariff, which, he 
thought, would be a limit that would increase the industries 
to their own ruin. 

The amendment was then carried — yeas 24 ; nays 14. 

Ayes — Messrs. Clemow, Dobson, Farrell, Fraser, Gillespie, 
Howland, Hannan, Kirkpatrick, Lyman, Long, McLennan^ 
McKechnie, Oille, Ogilvie, Paterson, Perley, Rees, Rowland, 
Rosamond, Robinson, Sanford, Thomson, White, Woods. 
Total ayes — 24. 

Nays — Messrs. Brown, Bronson, Cameron, Corcoran, Fry, 

- 5 ° 

The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

Joseph, Kerry, McMaster, Pennock, Skead, Stairs, Shahyn 
Walker, Wood. Total nays — 14. 

The Protectionists received the announcement of the 
victory with loud applause. 

Other speeches were made, both for protection and Free 
Trade, from which we select the following : 

Mr. McKechnie was pleased to find a growing sentiment 
in favour of Protection. He advocated the imposition of 
increased duties on refined sugars. He denied that Protec- 
tion would increase the cost of living, and contended that the 
opposite would be the result. Experience had proved that 
the establishment of home industries had invariably benefited 
the consumer. He argued against the policy which opened 
our markets to the manufacturers of the United States, while 
theirs were closed to us. He pointed to the example of our 
neighbours to show the benefits of Protection. A protective 
tariff, instead of cutting off revenue, had yielded enough to 
pay the interest on the national debt and some of the 
principal, while the want of it had driven our workingmen 
to the neighbouring country to look for employment. Every 
one wanted a Reciprocity Treaty, but we could never get it 
until we had something to give. Our farming population 
were becoming alive to the importance of protecting their 
industries. They saw that home competition would keep 
down prices, while it would improve their markets. 

Mr. Clemow did not wish the Board to suppose that the 
Ottawa district favoured Free Trade. The lumber trade 
were looking for Protection. They felt the competition of 
Western timber merchants at Quebec and the effects of the 
hostile tariff of the United States. It was all very well to 
talk of Free Trade cheapening living, but what was the good 
of cheap articles if the people had nothing to buy them with ? 

* Ottawa was suffering from the low tariff. The mechanics 
had gone to the United States. Lumbermen found work- 
men going to Michigan and Wisconsin for employment, while 
the great iron mines near the city were undeveloped for want 
of Protection. A policy was needed which would keep our 
people at home. (Cheers). 

Dominion Board of Trade’s Declaration. 251 

Mr Woods (Quebec) said if the tariff was the cause of 
the commercial depression that was an argument in lavour 
of Free Trade, for we had more Protection now than for 
many years past. He maintained that the depression of 
trade in the United States was greater than in Canada. The 
shipping trade had been almost obliterated by Protection. 
There was nothing in the United States to encourage us to 
take the retrogade step of adopting Protection. The internal 
Free Trade of the United States gave them what prosperity 
they enjoyed. Their foreign trade was well nigh obliterated. 
His strong conviction was that the proper policy for Canada 
was the one now followed, a tariff for revenue purposes, so 
framed as to levy the largest duties on luxuries and the next 
on articles which we can manufacture ourselves. He argued 
against the imposition of Protective duties on sugar. If the 
United States Government were desirous of giving a bounty 
to the refiners for -the benefit of consumers, our people had 
nothing to complain of. If the proposition of the refiners 
were adopted, it would be simply giving a bonus of $500,000 
per annum to keep 6,000 working people in Canada. 

“ Mr Sandford (Hamilton) said all that Protectionists 
wanted was internal Free Trade, such as Mr. Woods admitted 
had built up the prosperity of the United States. That was 
just what was denied to us by the existing tariff. 

Dr. Oille, (St. Catharines), in reply to Major Walker’s 
remarks, wished to know if we were benefited by practical 
Free Trade in pig iron, steel rails, and bar iron. The fact was, 
that notwithstanding the high protective tariff on those articles 
in the U nited States, we paid as much for ours. The difference 
was that we had to buy ours abroad, while the United States 
consumer had his manufactured at the same price at home. 
When steel rails were first manufactured, they were imported 
into the United States at high prices. A heavy duty was put 
on them, and home industries at once sprang into existence. 
The result was that they manufactnred their own rails, and 
the railway companies got them as cheaply as they could get 
abroad. By our policy we paid as much for such articles as 
our neighbours, while we were without the large manufacturing 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

industries which were flourishing in the neighbouring country. 
We had the humiliating spectacle of Americans coming to 
Ottawa and taking ore from our mines, carrying it to the 
United States, smelting it, and sending back to us our own 
iron manufactured. We import to day 250,000 barrels of 
flour. Under a proper policy, we would import the grain, 
manufacture it and the barrels, and send it to the Lower 


Provinces, while we would bring back in return cargoes of 
their products. Under a proper policy our Maritime Provinces 
would be the Great Britain of America. 

Mr. Howland contended that Canada never had but one 
satisfactory tariff, that of Galt’s of twenty per cent. Under 
that tariff manufactures had thrived. Nothing but fanaticism 
prevented free traders from seeing that Canada was placed at 
a disadvantage in her relations with the United States. He 
contended that the duties of the neighbouring country were 
differential against the Dominion. He did not advocate the 
imposition of the same duties on our side, because a lower 
tariff would answer our purpose. 

At this point the Premier and Messrs. Vail, Smith and 
Burpee entered, and were received with cheers. They were 
introduced to the United States delegates, and seated with 
them near the President. 

Mr. Howland continued his argument in favour of Protec- 
tion. He contended that our home industries were dying out 
from the extreme competition of our neighbours, and furnished 
several illustrations in proof of the assertion. The farmers 
were beginning to feel the same competition in their line. 
The Grangers had recently passed a resolution in favour of 
Protection to agricultural industries. Without a re-adjusted 
and increased tariff, Confederation would never be accom- 
plished. The inter-Provincial trade which it would stimulate 
would draw us closer together, develop our immense natural 
resources, and restore the prosperity which this country should 
enjoy. This was a national policy which would make us feel 
we were all Canadians, and interested in the prosperity of 
every section of the country. 

Mr. White lived to see his views carried into practical 

Dominion Board of Trade’s Declaration. 253 

effect, and, as a Minister of the Crown, had many opportuni- 
ties of raising his voice in defence of Canadian interests. In 
the prime of life, and at the zenith of his usefulness, he was 
suddenly stricken down, and passed away on April 21, 1888. 
He was a close friend of Sir John Macdonald who, in 
endeavouring to announce his death to the House, completely 
broke down, and laying his head on his desk, burst into deep 
sobs. The whole House was deeply affected, and few could 
keep back their rising tears, for Mr. White had hosts of friends 
and no enemies. 


General election September 17, 1878 — Defeat of the Mackenzie Government — Sir 
John Macdonald forms a new Government — Departure of Lord Dufferin — 
Lord Lome and H. R. H. the Princess Louise — The National Policy reso- 
lutions March 14, 1879 — Sir Leonard Tilley’s speech — A short summary 
of his political history — Death of the Honourable George Brown — A 
memorial statue erected in Queen’s Park — Tributes to his memory by 
Honourable Oliver Mowat and Honourable George Allan. 

T N the autumn of 1878 Parliament was dissolved and a 
general election held on September 17th. The issue before 
the people was whether or not they desired protection to home 
iudustries, and they pronounced in favour of the policy in a 
manner that even the most sanguine of its advocates had 
never hoped for. The electors also, doubtless, felt that an 
injustice had been done to Sir John Macdonald and his Minis- 
try in 1873 m pronouncing them guilty on such utter want of 
evidence, and were anxious to make atonement. The Oppo- 
sition swept the country even more completely than Mr. 
Mackenzie had done in 1874, and, finding himself left in such 
a hopeless minority, that gentleman handed in the resignations 
of his Cabinet to His Excellency the Governor-General. For 
the first time since 1844, Sir John was defeated in his old 
constituency, Kingston, but was elected for Marquette, Mani- 
toba. He was entrusted with the task of forming a new 
Government, which he succeeded in doing as follows : 

Right Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald, Premier and Minister of the 

Hon. S. L. Tilley, Minister of Finance, 

Hon. Charles Tupper, Minister of Public Works. 

Hon. J. H. Pope, Minister of Agriculture. 

Hon. James Macdonald, Minister of Justice. 

Hon. L. F. R. Masson, Minister of Militia. 

Hon. J. C. Pope, Minister of Marine and Fisheries. 

Hon. L. F. G. Baby, Minister of Inland Revenue. 

Hon. Mackenzie Bowell, Minister of Customs. 

Hon. Alexander Campbell, Receiver-General. 

Hon. H. L. Langevin, Postmaster-General 
Hon. J. C. Aiken, Secretary of State. 

Hon. John O’Connor, President of the Council. 

Hon. R. D. Wilmot, Speaker of the Senate. 


Departure of Lord Dufferin. 


Shortly afterwards, Lord Dufferin having completed his 
term of six years, sailed for England. During his stay in 
Canada he had won the respect, admiration and affection of 
the people of Canada and his departure was deeply regretted. 
The warm feeling entertained was shown by the large number 
of addresses presented to him, one of which was joined in by 
nearly every municipal body in Canada. He was succeeded 
by the Marquis of Lome, who, accompanied by H. R. H. the 
Princess Louise, arrived in Halifax on November 23rd and 
were received with all possible honour. 

It would be a congenial task to present to our readers 
some of the very eloquent speeches made by Lord Dufferin 
during the period he presided over the destinies of the country, 
and to try and convey some idea of the popularity of both 
himself and Lady Dufferin amongst the Canadian people, but 
it would be impossible to do justice to the subject within a 
limited space, and the story has already been told so fully and 
clearly by Mr. Leggo and Mr. Stewart, that the better course 
is not to touch upon ground which has already been so ably 

The Marquis of Lome is descended from one of the most 
illustrious and ancient families in Scottish history, the annals 
of whose ancestors are traced back until they become dim in 
the twilight of tradition. But since Gillespie Campbell, in the 
eleventh century, acquired by marriage the lordship of 
Lochow, in Argyleshire, the records of the family may be 
plainly followed. From him descended Sir Colin Campbell, of 
Lochow, who became distinguished both in war and in peace, 
and who received the surname of “Mohr’' or “Great.” From 
him the chief of the house is to this day styled, in Gaelic, 
‘‘MacCailean Mohr” or “The Great Colin.” In 1280, he was 
knighted by Alexander III., and eleven years later he was 
slam in a contest with his powerful neighbour, the Lord 
of Lome. This event occasioned bitter feud between the two 
families, which existed for many years, but was finally termin- 
ated, romantically, by the marriage of the first Earl of Argyle 
to the heiress of Lome. For hundreds of years after this 
time the history of the family is inseparably inwoven with the 

258 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

history of Scotland. The first and also the last Marquis of 
Argyle was Gillespie Grumach, or Archibald the Grim, who 
was beheaded during the reign of Charles II. His son, taking 
part against the reigning power, escaped to the Continent, but 
subsequently returned to Scotland to invade that kingdom 
simultaneously with the Duke of Monmouth’s unlucky rising 
in the south. His small force was defeated while marching on 
Glasgow, and he was captured and suffered the same fate as 
his father. The estates were confiscated, and the family 
seemed doomed to extinction ; but the revolution of 1688 
brought it once more into prominence, and its representative 
was created the Duke of Argyle and Marquis of Lome. The 
next successor to the titles played a very conspicuous part in 
the history of his time, and has been immortalized in verse by 
Pope, and in prose by Sir Walter Scott. The head of the 
family at the present time is the eighth Duke of Argyle, a 
celebrated statesman who has filled several important offices 
under different Administrations, and who has achieved consid- 
erable reputation as a man of science and of letters. Upon the 
formation of Mr. Gladstone’s Cabinet in December, 1868, he 
became Secretary of State for India, and conducted its affairs 
with marked ability until the Liberal Government was deposed 
in February, 1874. The late General Grant said that the Duke 
of Argyle inspired in him a higher respect than any other man 
in Europe. This, from the ex-President of the United States, 
whose discriminating sense and judgment in observing men 
was unsurpassed, and who had met nearly all the distinguished 
men in the world, is a rare compliment, but doubtless as 
deserving as true. In 1844, the Duke married Lady Elizabeth 
Georgina Sutherland Leveson-Gower, eldest daughter of the 
second Duke of Sutherland, and late Mistress of the Royal 
Robes. By this union he has twelve children, the eldest 
of whom, the Right Honourable Sir John George Edward 
Henry Douglas Sutherland Campbell, K. T., G. C. M. G., Mar- 
quis of Lome, was born at the Stafford House, St. James’ 
Park, London, on August 6, 1845. He was educated at Eton, 
and afterwards passed successively to the University of St. 
Andrew’s and Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1866 he 

The Marquis -of Lorne. 


became connected with the military, by appointment as 
Captain of the London Scottish Volunteers, and in 1868 was 
commissioned Lieut.-Colonel of the Argyle and Bute Volun- 
teer Artillery Brigade. For literary and artistic pursuits the 
Marquis possesses much natural ability as well as a cultivated 
taste, the result of study, observation and experience. His 
first published work was “A Tour in the Tropics,” the result 
of his observations during a trip through the West Indies and 
the eastern part of North America in 1866. Although the 
author was very young at this time, the appearance of this 
work displayed to the public the keen sense of observation 
and discriminating judgment which he inherits from his father. 
During this trip he made his first visit to Canada, and 
conceived a very favourable impression of this country. His 
next publication was “ Guida and Lita, a Tale of the Rivieta,” 
a poem which attracted much interest, not so much on 
account of its titled author, as because of the genuine worth 
and beauty of its composition. In 1877 appeared from his pen 
“The Book of Psalms, literally rendered in verse,” which is 
doubtless the best of his literary productions. It called forth 
much praise, and is a work of great merit. 

In 1868 he became a member of the House of Commons, 
representing the constituency of Argyleshire, and was 
re-elected by acclamation in two subsequent general elections, 
and continued in Parliament until his appointment to Canada. 
During part of the Duke of Argyle’s term of office in Mr. 
Gladstone’s Cabinet, the Marquis acted as his private secre- 
tary, displaying much aptitude for affairs of state. 

On March 21, 1871, he was united in marriage to Her 
Royal Highness, the Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, 
Duchess of Saxony, the sixth child and fourth daughter of 
Her Majesty Queen Victoria, who was born on March 18, 
1848. Since her marriage brought her prominently before 
the public, she has been regarded with much affectionate 
interest by the people ; and her personal qualities, indepen- 
dently of her high rank, are such as to have earned for her 
the love and respect of all with whom she had been brought 
in contact. 


2 6o 

The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

As we are now dealing with a period within the memory 
of every one and it is necessary to hurry on to the concluding 
portions of the work, we will not attempt to follow the 
remainder of Sir John Macdonald’s career in the detailed 
manner that was necessary in the earlier chapters. It, con- 
sequently, becomes impossible to dwell upon the acts or 
characteristics of any of the Governor’s-General, under whom 
he had the honour of serving in his later years. Therefore, 
while proposing to return for a while, to deal with the National 
Policy and the Pacific Railway, we will, at this point antici- 
pate a little and say that Lord Lome remained in Canada 
as Governor-General, until October 23, 1883, when his 

successor, Lord Lansdowne, was sworn into office. He 
proved to be a worthy successor to Lord Dufferin, and both 
he and H.R.H. the Princess Louise won warm places in the 
hearts of the Canadian people. The sentiments of the nation 
were fitly voiced in the speeches of Sir John Macdonald and 
Mr. Blake in moving and seconding the adoption of an 
address to him, upon his retirement from office. Sir John 
Macdonald said : “ When we heard that Lord Lome was 
appointed to hold the great office of representative of Her 
Majesty in Canada, we rejoiced that the selection had fallen 
on the scion of so illustrious a race as that of Argyle ; and 
I, with every countryman of mine, rejoiced that the son of 
McCallum More should be here to represent the Queen. 
That pleasure was increased by the knowledge that he was 
to be accompanied by Her Royal Highness the daughter of 
our Sovereign. Though our expectations were high, I am 
glad to believe that the country and this House, as the repre- 
sentative of the country, believe our expectations to have 
been fulfilled. From the time he first assumed office until 
now, he has devoted himself with great industry, energy, and 
ability, and, I am glad to say, with great success, to forward- 
ing all the interests of Canada, not in a mere dilettante per- 
functory way, but in a searching manner, earnestly enquiring 
into the position of the country, its capabilities and resources 
and the best way of advancing all its interests, material, intel- 
lectual, moral, and artistic. He has not spared himself. He 

The Marquis of Lorne. 


has visited every Province of the Dominion, not as a mere 
traveller, but as one anxious to make all enquiries fully to 
inform himself of our wants, wishes, and aspirations. Now 
that he is leaving us, we must express our regret at his depar- 
ture. We regret extremely to lose, also, as a matter of 
course, his illustrious consort During the short time her 
health has enabled her to be with us, she has endeared herself 
to every one with whom she has come into contact by the 
kindly and sympathetic manner with which she has viewed 
both men and things in Canada. We must not forget that, 
although we have been deprived of much of her presence, 
and of the light such a presence casts around the metropolis, 
the accident which caused her absence was occasioned by 
her attending to her duties as the wife of the Governor- 
General, in coming to be present at one of the official cere- 
monies, the duty of presiding at which was cast upon Lord 
Lorne and herself as his consort.” 

Mr. Blake, in seconding the resolution, as leader of the 
Opposition, said : “ Honourable gentlemen opposite, of course 
have, from their connection with His Excellency as his 
responsible advisers, the opportunity of speaking with a 
greater knowledge as to the discharge of his political duties, 
than those who have not that opportunity. But, viewing His 
Excellency’s conduct from the position we occupy, we can 
cordially concur in the sentiment that he has been a good 
constitutional Governor, and that, so far as his public conduct 
has enabled us to judge, he has fully realized and acted upon 
those great principles of responsible Government which are 
so dear, equally in this and the mother country, and which 
form, in the opinion of both, the vital element of their system 
of Government. The Governor of Canada has, as this 
Address indicates, many important duties to perform. Those 
duties His Excellency has assiduously attended to ; and, in 
the spirit the honourable gentleman has expressed, we have 
every reason to believe that he has devoted his time, his 
energies, his ability, his intellect, to the thorough understand- 
ing and comprehension of the situation of this country, to an 
attention to its physical and moral oosition, and to enabling 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

himself, as far as his high position would permit, to give fit 
expression to what our wishes, wants, and aspirations are, here, 
during the discharge of his high duty, and hereafter in the 
councils of his country, to which he will, no doubt, shortly 
be called ; that expression which will be of great use to us — 
not an expression of indiscriminate praise, which we do not 
want, but the judicious expression of such a measure of praise 
and approbation as may convince the public whom he 
addresses, that they are the sentiments of his heart, based 
upon a thorough comprehension of all the circumstances of 
this country. The honourable gentleman has alluded to His 
Excellency’s illustrious consort, and the representative of 
the Queen by office and by birth, her illustrious daughter. 
We are glad to send this message back. We are here in a 
democratic country, where the Throne is not supported by 
the arrangements of society, which are supposed, in other 
lands, to be essential to a monarchy ; but there exists here 
in the minds of the people, a firm, thorough, and fervent — 
because a reasonable — loyalty to that system under which, 
if they do not entirely regulate their affairs, at any rate they 
have the most perfect measure of self-control and of self- 

The following is the joint address which was adopted by 
both Houses : 

To His Excellency the Right Honourable Sir John Douglas Sutherland 
Campbell ( commonly called the Marquis of Lome J, Knight of the Most 
Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle ; Knight Grand Cross of 
the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George , Governor- 
General of Canada , and Vice-Admiral of the same , etc., etc. 

May it Please Your Excellency: 

We, Her Majesty’s dutiful subjects, the Senate and House of 
Commons of Canada in Parliament assembled, desire, on behalf of 
those whom we represent, as well as on our own, to give expression to 
the general feeling of regret with which the country has learned, that 
Your Excellency’s official connection with Canada is soon about to 

We are happy, however, to believe that in the Councils of the 
Empire in the future, and wherever opportunity enables you to render 
her service, Canada will ever find in Your Excellency a steadfast 

The Marquis of Lorne. 


friend, with knowledge of her wants and aspirations, and an earnest 
desire to forward her interests. 

Your Excellency’s zealous endeavours to inform yourself by 
personal observation of the character, capabilities and requirements 
of every section of the Dominion, have been highly appreciated by its 
people, and we feel that the country is under deep obligations to you 
for your untiring efforts to make its resources widely and favourably 

The warm personal interest which Your Excellency has taken in 
everything calculated to stimulate and encourage intellectual energy 
among us, and to advance science and art, will long be gratefully 
remembered ; the success of Your Excellency’s efforts has fortified us 
in the belief that a full development of our national life is perfectly 
consistent with the closest and most loyal connection with the Empire. 

The presence of your illustrious consort in Canada seems to have 
drawn us closer to our beloved Sovereign, and in saying farewell to 
Your Excellency and to Her Royal Highness, whose kindly and 
gracious sympathies, manifested on so many occasions, have endeared 
her to all hearts, we humbly beg that you will personally convey to 
Her Majesty the declaration of our loyal attachment, and our deter- 
mination to maintain firm, and abiding our connection with the great 
Empire over which she rules. (Signed). 

D. L. Macpherson, 

Speaker of the Senate. 

J. G. Blanchet, 

Speaker of the House of Commons. 

On May 25th, the members of the House of Commons 
went in a body to the Senate Chamber where, together with 
the members of the Upper House, they were received by the 
Governor-General and the Princess Louise. The address 
adopted by both Houses was then presented to His Excel- 
lency by the Privy Councillors who were in attendance, and 
the Marquis of Lorne made the following reply : 

“ Honourable Gentlemen — No higher personal honour can 
be received by a public man than that which, by this Address, 
you have been pleased to accord to me. In asking you to 
accept my gratitude, I thank you, also, for your words regard- 
ing the Princess, whose affection for Canada fully equals mine. 
It will be my pride and duty to aid you in the future to the 
utmost of my power. 

“Now that the pre-arranged term of our residence among 
you draws to its end, and the happiest five years I have ever 

264 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

known are nearly spent, it is my fortune to look back on a 
time during which all domestic discord has been avoided, our 
friendship with the great neighbouring republic has been 
sustained, and an uninterrupted prosperity has marked the 
advance of the Dominion. 

“ In no other land have the last seventeen years — the space 
of time which has elapsed since your Federation — witnessed 
such progress. Other countries have had their territories 
enlarged, and their destines determined by trouble and war, 
but no blood has stained the bonds which have knit together 
your free and order-loving populations. And yet, in this 
period, so brief in the life of a nation, you have attained to a 
union whose characteristics, from sea to sea, are the same. 

“ A judicature above suspicion ; self-governing communi- 
ties entrusting to a strong central Government all national 
interests ; the toleration of all faiths, with favour to none ; a 
franchise recognizing the rights of labour by the exclusion 
only of the idlers ; the maintenance of a Government not 
privileged to exist for any fixed term, but ever susceptible to 
the change of public opinion, and ever open through a 
responsible Ministry to the scrutiny of the people ; these are 
the features of your rising power. 

“ Finally, you present the spectacle of a nation, already 
possessing the means to make its position respected by its 
resources in men available at sea or on land. May these 
never be required except to gather the harvests, the bounty 
that God has so lavishly bestowed upon you. The spirit, 
however, which made your fathers resist encroachments on 
your soil and liberties, is with you now, and it is as certain 
to-day as it was formerly, that you are ready to take on your- 
selves the necessary burden to ensure the permanence of your 
laws and institutions. 

“ You have the power to make treaties on your own respon- 
sibility with foreign nations, and your High Commissioner is 
associated for purposes of negotiation with the foreign office. 

“You are not the subjects, but the free allies of the great 
country which gave you birth, and is ready with all its energy 
to be the champion of your interests. Standing side by side, 

Sir Leonard Tilley and National Policy. 265 

Canada and Great Britain work together for the commercial 
advancement of each other. It is the recognition of this which 
makes such an occasion as the present significant, personalities, 
however dear to individuals, are of no possible moment. 
These may be happy or unhappy accidents, but the satisfac- 
tion experienced from the condition of the connection now 
subsisting between the old and new lands, can be affected by 
no personal accident. 

“ I therefore rejoice that again it has been your determina- 
tion to show that Canada remains as firmly rooted as ever in 
love to that free union which ensures to you and to Great 
Britain equal advantages. Without it, the maintenance of 
your institutions and national autonomy would not be allowed 
to endure for a twelvemonth, while the loss of the alliance of 
the communities which were once the dependencies of Eng- 
land, would be a heavy blow to her commerce and renown. 

“ I thank you once more for your words, which shall be 
dear treasures to me forever, and may the end of the term of 
each public servant who fills with you the office which consti- 
tutes him at once your chief magistrate and the representative 
of a united empire, be a day for pronouncing in favour of a 
free national Government, defended by such Imperial alliance.” 

On March 14, 1879, the Honourable S. L. Tilley made his 
Budget Speech introducing the National Policy. Much of it 
was of course of a statistical nature and would be uninteresting 
to the general reader, we will, therefore, only give those parts 
which deal with the principle upon which the new tariff was 

“ Mr. Chairman, — It ±s only recently that I have quite 
realized the great changes that have taken place throughout 
the Dominion of Canada since I last had the honour of a seat 
in Parliament. To-day I fully realize them, and the increased 
difficulties devolving upon me, as Finance Minister, compared 
with the position of affairs when I submitted my financial 
statement in 1873. Then my work was a very easy one 
indeed. Honourable Ministers on the. opposite benches were 
pleased, on that occasion, to compliment me on that state- 
ment, but I felt that I had earned no compliment, that if that 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

speech was acceptable to the House, it was because of the 
satisfactory statements I was able to make with reference to 
the condition of the Dominion and also of the finances of the 
Dominion. Then, sir, I was able to point to steady and 
increasing surplusses and revenue, and that, too, in the face of 
a steady reduction of taxation. Then I was able to point 
with some degree of confidence to the prospective expendi- 
tures of the Dominion, extending over ten years. To-day I 
cannot speak of it with the same confidence. Then the con- 
struction of the Pacific Railway was under regulations that 
confined and limited the liabilities of the Dominion, to 
$30,000,000. To-day I am not in a position to say what 
expenditure or responsibilities we may incur with reference to 
that great undertaking. There has been a change in the 
policy. But it will become the duty of the Government and 
of Parliament to consider, while we have not the limit to our 
liabilities that we had, whether we cannot, by some means, 
construct that great work largely out of the 200,000,000 acres 
of land lying within the wheat area of that magnificent country. 

“ Then, sir, I could point with pride and with satisfaction 
to the increased capital of our banks and the large dividend 
they paid. To-day I regret to say that we must point to 
deprecated values and to small dividends. Then I could 
point to the general prosperity of the country. To-day we 
must all admit that it is greatly depressed. Then I could 
point with satisfaction to the various manufacturing industries 
that were in operation throughout the length and breadth of 
the Dominion, remunerative to the men who had invested 
theincapital in them, and giving employment to tens of thous- 
ands. To-day many of the furnaces are cold, the machinery 
in many cases is idle, and those establishments that are in 
operation are only employed half time and are scarcely paying 
the interest on the money invested. Then, sir, we could point 
to the agricultural interest as most prosperous, with a satisfac- 
tory home market and satisfactory prices abroad. To-day 
they have a limited market with low prices, and anything but 
a satisfactory market abroad. Then, sir, we could point to a 
very valuable and extensive West India trade ; to-day it 

Sir Leonard Tilley and National Policy. 267 

does not exist. Then, sir, we could point to a profitable and 
direct tea trade, that has been demoralized and destroyed. 
Then everything appeared to be prosperous ; to-day, though 
it looks gloomy, I hope there is a silver lining to the cloud, that 
we may yet see illuminating the whole of the Dominion, and 
changing our present position to one of happiness and 

“ Mr. Chairman, there has been, and very naturally so, a 
good deal of interest and anxiety manifested on the part of 
the friends of the National Policy, as it is called, in regard to 
its early introduction. I can quite understand that, because, 
believing as they do, and as a majority of this House do, that 
that policy is calculated to bring prosperity to the country, it 
was but natural that they should be anxious for its introduc- 
tion, and that not a day should be lost. And it is satisfactory 
to know that, great and difficult as is the responsibility which 
rests upon me here, I may trust that the proposition I am 
about to submit will be sustained, not only by a majority of 
this House, but by an overwhelming majority in the country. 
It was natural, therefore, Mr. Chairman, that the friends of this 
policy should be anxious for its introduction, and it was 
pleasing and satisfactory to see that even the Opposition vied 
with the friends of the Government in that anxiety. It is 
most encouraging to me, because, of course, all Oppositions 
are patriotic, and certainly a patriotic Opposition, anxious for 
the introduction of this measure, could not have desired that 
a bad measure, and one not calculated to benefit the country 
should be forced hastily upon it. Therefore, I take it for 
granted that, in addition to the support from the gentlemen 
behind me, we shall have the support of gentlemen opposite 
to our policy and the propositious we are about to submit. 

“ But, perhaps, it will not be out of place for me to offer a 
few remarks in justification of the apparent delay that has 
taken place. It will be remembered that the Government 
was only formed on October 19th. Some delay took place in 
awaiting the arrival in Canada of an honourable member, who, 
I am satisfied, is one whom, whatever the political opinions of 
gentlemen of this House may be, all would have been anxious 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

to see consulted before the Government was formed — I mean 
the Minister of Militia. The Government, therefore, was 
not completed till October 19th. The members of the Gov- 
ernment had to return for re-election, and those elections, 
though they were hastened with all possible rapidity, because 
we felt there was a great deal of work to be done, were not 
over until the early part of November, when we returned to 
the city of Ottawa. And what did we find ? As Minister of 
Finance, I cannot say I found the finances in the most satis- 
factory condition. I found, sir, that we had maturing in 
London, between the early part of November and January 1st, 
an indebtedness of $15,500,000 with nothing to meet it but 
the prospective payment of the Fishery Award. On this side 
of the Atlantic we had in the various banks of the Dominion 
something like $5,000,000, and between that date and January 
1st, with the subsidy of the provinces and payments to con- 
tractors who were constructing public works, something like 
$3,000,000 had to be paid ; and then, considering the position 
the banks were in all over the Dominion, the uncertainty as 
to what might transpire, it was just possible that a reduction 
in the reserves might take place, and that meant a demand on 
the Dominion Treasury. Every dollar we found it necessary 
to take from the banks at the time was embarrassing, and 
was reluctantly withdrawn. But it was inevitable that the 
Finance Minister should proceed to London, with the least 
possible delay, that arrangements might be made to sustain 
the credit and the honour of the Dominion. Well, sir, in order 
to avoid that, feeling the importance of every member of the 
Government being at his post in order to prepare measures 
for the meeting of Parliament, a cable message was sent to 
our agents on the other side to ask if the visit of the Finance 
Minister to London could not be avoided. The answer was 
“ No; his presence here is absolutely necessary.” Under these 
circumstances I proceeded to London, and I placed a loan of 
£3, 000, 000 sterling upon the market there. 

“ Then sir, after my return to Canada, it became necessary 
that we should consider the whole question of the tariff. It is 
not a question that can be settled in a day. It is not a ques- 

Sir Leonard Tilley and National Policy. 269 

tion that can be settled intelligently in weeks, indeed it would 
have been well if we could have had more time to consider it 
than we have had, considering the magnitude and importance 
of the work. I can appeal to other Finance Ministers, and 
especially to my immediate predecessor, who, in 1874, made 
several changes in the tariff of that day, to speak of the diffi- 
culties there are in making even as few changes as were then 
made. But, if we undertake, as the present Government have 
undertaken, to re-adjust and re-organize, and, I may say, make 
an entirely new tariff, having for its object not only the realiz- 
ation of $2,000,000 more revenue than will be collected this 
year, but, in addition to providing for that deficiency, to adjust 
the tariff with a view of giving effect to what has been, and is 
to-day declared to be the policy of the majority of this House 
— I mean the protection of the industries of the country — the 
magnitude of the undertaking will be the better appreciated. 
Sir, we have invited gentlemen from all parts of the Dominion, 
and representing all interests in the Dominion, to assist us in 
the re-adjustment of the tariff, because we did not feel — 
though perhaps we possess an average intelligence in ordinary 
Government matters — we did not feel that we knew every- 
thing. We did not feel that we were prepared, without advice 
and assistance from men of experience with reference to these 
matters, to re-adjust and make a judicious tariff We, there- 
fore, invited those who were interested in the general interests 
of the country, or interested in any special interests. Gentle- 
men who took an opposite view, met us and discussed these 
questions, and I may say that, down to as late a period as 
yesterday, though the propositions are submitted to-day, we 
were favoured with the co-operation and opinion of gentlemen 
who represent their particular or general views with reference 
to the great questions we have under consideration. We have 
laboured zealously and arduously, and I trust it will be found 
successfully ; and we are now about to submit our views for 
the consideration of this House. I think we may appeal with 
some degree of confidence to gentlemen in opposition, in 
approval of the early period at which this tariff is being intro- 
duced, when I call to the mind of these honourable gentlemen 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

that their Government was formed on November 7, 1873; 
ours on October 19th ; that my predecessor did not submit 
his tariff and budget speech until April 14th, this being March 
14th. When we submit to this House the result of our 
deliberations you will all understand the nature and extent 
of the consideration that must necessarily have been given 
to them. I trust that this House and the country will feel 
that we have presented our views at as early a period as 
possible, taking all these facts into consideration. 

“Let me refer to some circumstances that led to the present 
depression in the revenue. During and after the war in the 
United States it is well understood that that country lost a 
large portion of its export trade, and its manufacturing indus- 
tries were to a certain extent paralyzed ; and it was only about 
1872 or 1873 that they really commenced to restore their 
manufacturing industries, and endeavoured to find an extended 
market elsewhere for the manufactures of their country. 
Lying as we do alongside that great country, we were looked 
upon as a desirable market for their surplus products, and our 
American neighbours, always competent to judge of their own 
interests and act wisely in regard to them, put forth every 
effort to obtain access to our market. It is well known by the 
term slaughter-market what they have been doing for the last 
four or five years in Canada ; that, in order to find an outlet 
for their surplus manufactures, they have been willing to send 
them into this country at any price that would be a little 
below that of the Canadian manufacturer. It is well known 
also that they had their agents in every part of the Dominion 
seeking purchasers for their surplus, and that those agents 
have been enabled, under our existing laws, to enter those 
goods at a price much lower than they ought to have paid, 
which was their value in the place of purchase. It is well- 
known, moreover, that the United States Government, in order 
to encourage special interests in that country, granted a 
bounty upon certain manufactures, and so gave to them the 
exclusive market of the Dominion, and, under those circum- 
stances, we have lost a very important trade, possessed 
previous to 1873. In addition to the loss of the West India 

Sir Leonard Tilley and National Policy. 271 

trade, by the repeal of the 10 per cent, duty on tea, we lost the 
direct tea trade, and all the advantages resulting from it, by 
its transfer from the Dominion to New York and Boston. 
Under all those circumstances, and with the high duty 
imposed by the United States on the agricultural products of 
the Dominion, by which we are, to a great extent, excluded 
from them, while the manufactures of that country are forced 
into our market, we could not expect prosperity or success in 
the Dominion, so long as that state of things continued. 
These are some of the difficulties which have led to our present 
state of affairs. 

“ Now after having made these few remarks on that head, 
I desire to call the attention of the House to the remedy. I 
know this is a difficult question — that it is the opinion of some 
honourable members, that no matter what proposition you 
may make, or what legislation you introduce, it cannot 
improve or increase the prosperity of the country. The 
Government entertain a different opinion. I may say, at the 
outset, it would have been much more agreeable if we could 
have met the House without the necessity of increased tax- 
ation. But in the imposition of the duties we are now about 
to ask the House to impose, it may be said we shall receive 
from the imports from foreign countries a larger portion of the 
$2,000,000 we require than we shall receive from the mother 
country. I believe such will be the effect, but I think that in 
making such a statement to this House, belonging, as we do 
to, and forming a part of that great country — a country that 
receives our natural products without any taxation, everything 
we have to send to her — apart from our national feelings, I 
think this House will not object if, in the propositions before 
me, they touch more heavily the imports from foreign 
countries than from our fatherland. I have this to say to our 
American friends : In 1865 they abrogated the reciprocity 
treaty, and, from that day to the present, a large portion of the 
imports from that country into the Dominion have been 
admitted free. We have hoped, and hoped in vain, that by 
the adoption of that policy we would lead our American 
friends to treat us in a more liberal spirit with regard to the 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

same articles. Well, after having waited twelve years for the 
consideration of this subject, the Government, requiring more 
revenue, have determined to ask this House to impose upon 
the products of the United States that have been free, such a 
duty as may seem consistent with our position. But the 
Government couple with the proposal, in order to show that 
we approach this question with no unfriendly spirit, a resolu- 
tion that will be laid on the table containing a proposition to 
this effect : That as to articles named, which are the natural 
products of the country, including lumber, if the United States 
take off the duties in part or in whole, we are prepared to meet 
them with equal concessions. The Government believe in a 
reciprocity tariff, yet may discuss free trade or protection, but 
the question of to-day is : Shall we have a reciprocity tariff, or 
a one-sided tariff? 

“We found, as I stated before, that it was important to 
encourage the exportation of our manufactures to foreign 
countries, and we are prepared now to say that the policy of 
the Government is to give every manufacturer in the Dominion 
of Canada a drawback on the duties they may pay upon 
goods used in the manufactures of the Dominion exported. 
We found, also, sir, as I have already pointed out, that under 
the bounty system of some foreign countries, our sugar-refin- 
ing trade, and other interests, were materially affected. Well, 
sir, the Government have decided to ask this House to impose 
countervailing duties under such circumstances. I trust that 
this proposition will receive the support of both sides of the 
House, because some six months since, when the deputation 
of sugar refiners in London waited upon Mr. Gladstone and 
Sir Stafford Northcote, both of them being gentlemen repre- 
senting Free Trade views, they declared, in the most emphatic 
terms, that when a Government came in and thus interfered 
with the legitimate trade of the country, they were prepared 
to impose countervailing duties. To make this matter plain, 
and place it beyond dispute, the Government propose to ask 
the House for authority to collect on all such articles an ad 
valorem duty on their value, irrespective of drawbacks. My 
colleagues say, explain it. For instance, a cent and a quarter 

Sir Leonard Tilley and National Policy. 273 

drawback per pound is granted on cut nails exported to the 
Dominion of Canada ; the duty will be calculated on the value 
of the nails, irrespective of that drawback. Now, a bounty is 
given on sugar in excess of the duty which is paid by the 
sugar refiners ; the Government will exact an ad valorem 
duty on the value of that sugar irrespective of the drawback. 
I may also state, Mr. Chairman, that another reason why I 
think our American neighbours should not object to the 
imposition of the duties we propose, is this : It is a fact, 
though not generally known, that the average percentage of 
revenue that is imposed on all imports into the Dominion of 
Canada, at the present time, taking the returns for last year as 
our criterion, is 13^ per cent. The amount of duty collected 
on the imports from Great Britain is a fraction under 17^ 
per cent. ; while the amount of duty collected on the imports 
from the United States is a fraction under 10 per cent.” 

After dealing minutely with the changes which would be 
effected by the new tariff, Mr. Tilley concluded as follows : 

“ It appears to me, Mr. Chairman, and I think the House 
will agree with me, that the Government have endeavoured — 
whether successfully or not — to carry out the policy that we 
were pledged to inaugurate. We have endeavoured to meet 
every possible interest — the mining, the manufacturing, and 
the agricultural interests. We have endeavoured to assist 
our shipping and ship-building interest, which is in a very 
depressed condition. We have endeavoured not to injure 
the lumber interest, because they now have a very important 
article used by their people at about the same rate of duty 
they had it before — I refer to pork. They have tea at a 
cheaper price than before ; they have molasses cheaper. 
These articles enter largely into consumption with them. 
They have, as have every other class of exporters in the 
Dominion, many advantages, under the propositions that we 
are about to submit, that they did not enjoy before. In the 
interest of lumbermen and of commerce generally, the present 
Government, as well as our predecessors, have expended large 
sums of money for the improvement of the navigation of our 
rivers and of our coast, by the erection of lighthouses, and 




The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

in their maintenance. This, of course, is an advantage to 
the shipping interests as well. A proposition is also to be 
submitted to the House, which you will find in the estimates, 
to extend a telegraph down the St. Lawrence. This pro- 
position was submitted to the people of the Dominion by an 
able and experienced gentleman, a member of the House. 
I need not name him, because the interest he has taken is 
well known. This proposition is in the interest of commerce, 
and of our shipping, and of humanity. It is in the interest 
of every industry that exports any article from this country 
to the old world, because an expenditure of this kind will 
reduce the rate of charges in the shape of insurance and other 
charges on the shipping, and that is more absolutely in the 
interest of the exporter than in the interest of the owner of 
the ship. 

“ In our policy, as just propounded, we have dealt with 
the agricultural interest, the mining interest, the shipping 
interest, indirectly with the lumbering interest, and with very 
many other interests, and it does appear to me that we have 
now arrived at a time when it becomes necessary for this 
country, for this Parliament, to decide whether we are to 
remain in the position we now occupy, with a certainty that 
within two years, with the existing laws upon our statute- 
book, almost every manufacturing industry in the country 
will be closed up, and the money invested in it lost. The 
time has arrived, I think, when it becomes our duty to decide 
whether the thousands of men throughout the length and 
breadth of this country who are unemployed, shall seek em- 
ployment in another country, or shall find it in this Dominion; 
the time has arrived when we are to decide whether we will 
be simply hewers of wood and drawers of water ; whether we 
will be simply agriculturists raising wheat, and lumbermen 
producing more lumber than we can use, or Great Britain and 
the United States will take from us at remunerative prices ; 
whether we will confine our attention to the fisheries and 
certain other small industries, and cease to be what we have 
been, and not rise to be what I believe we are destined to be, 
under wise and judicious legislation, — or whether we will 

Sir Leonard Tilley and National Policy. 275 

inaugurate a policy that will, by its provisions, say to the 
industries of the country, we will give you sufficient protec- 
tion ; we will give you a market for what you can produce ; 
we will say that, while our neighbours build up a Chinese 
wall, we will impose a reasonable duty on their products com- 
ing into this country ; at all events, we will maintain for our 
agricultural and other productions, largely the market of 
our own Dominion. The time has certainly arrived when we 
must consider whether we will allow matters to remain as 
they are, with the result of being an unimportant and unin- 
teresting portion of Her Majesty’s Dominions, or will rise 
to the position, which, I believe Providence has destined us 
to occupy, by means which, I believe, though I may be over 
sanguine ; which my colleagues believe, though they may be 
over sanguine ; which the country believes, are calculated to 
bring prosperity and happiness to the people, to give employ- 
ment to the thousands who are unemployed, and to make 
this a great and prosperous country, as we all desire and 
hope it will be.” 

This would seem to be an appropriate place to give some 
particulars of the history of Sir Leonard Tilley, who, if not 
the father of the National Policy, is entitled to all the credit for 
putting it in shape and working out the details. The follow- 
ing account of his life, previous to Confederation, is taken 
from a newspaper article that appeared at the time of the 
meeting of the Conference in Quebec, to arrange the terms of 
union : 

“ This distinguished gentleman, who has made so high a 
mark in the politics of New Brunswick, was born on May 8, 
1818, in Queen’s County, in that province. He was educated 
in the Queen’s County Grammar School. He was first elected 
to the Provincial Parliament in May, 1850, for the city of St. 
John, and sat as its representative during the session of 1851, 
when he resigned his seat. He was again elected in 1854, and 
at the special session, in November of that year, he was 
appointed a member of the Executive Council and Pro- 
vincial Secretary. On returning to his constituents in the 
same month he was re-elected by acclamation. In May, 

276 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

1856, Parliament was dissolved by the Lieut -Governor 
of the Province, Mr. Manners Sutton, who rejected the 
advice of his Ministers on the prohibitory liquor law ques- 
tion. They resigned and gave place to a new Administration. 
At the general election which followed Mr. Tilley was 
defeated. A man of his great ability and usefulness could not, 
however, be long left out of public life with benefit to the 
country, and he was recalled to office in June, 1857, when the 
Liberal party of the province returned to power. On that 
occasion he was opposed before his constituents by Mr. J. W. 
Lawrence, but without success, Mr. Tilley being elected by a 
majority of over 200. Since that time he has continued in 
the Government as Provincial Secretary ; in April, 1861, 
becoming senior member of the Executive Council and 
Premier of the Government. 

“ As a politician, Mr. Tilley is shrewd and penetrating ; as 
a debater, ready, fluent and forcible ; as a man, genial and 
kind-hearted ; and as a citizen (to use the familiar word of 
the neighbouring States) he is scrupulously upright and 
honourable. In him are combined, perhaps, more of the 
qualities which go to make up a statesman than are possessed 
by any of the other delegates from the Maritime Provinces.” 

To which we will add, continuing the history down to 
1891, that he entered the Dominion Government in 1867 as 
Minister of Customs, and became Minister of Finance in 1873, 
on the resignation of Sir Francis Hincks, and held that office 
until the Government resigned in November of that year. On 
the return to power of the Liberal-Conservative party in 1878, 
he again accepted the office of Finance Minister, and remained 
a member of the Cabinet until November, 1885, when he was 
compelled to resign his seat in Parliament and in the Cabinet, 
owing to failing health. On his return to office in 1878 he was 
intrusted by Sir John A. Macdonald with the preparation of 
the Protective Tariff. His propositions were generally affirmed 
by his colleagues, and were, with one exception, accepted by 
Parliament. He was a member of the Sub-Committee of 
Council to arrange the terms of union with the representatives 
for Prince Edward Island, British Columbia and Newfound- 


Death of the Hon. George Brown. 


land. He took an active part in the discussion of all finan- 
cial questions submitted to Parliament. He was eleven 
years a member of the Government of the province of 
New Brunswick, and thirteen years a member of the Domin- 
ion Parliament. No man in Canada, except the late Sir 
John Macdonald, has served as long as a member of Local 
and Dominion Governments as has Sir Leonard Tilley, 
to which has to be added more than ten years service as 
Lieut.-Governor of his native province. He was created a 
Companion of the Bath (Civil) by Her Majesty in 1867, and a 
Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. 
George May 24, 1879. 

On March 25, 1880, the country was horror-stricken at the 
news of the attempted assassination of the Honourable George 
Brown. He was sitting in his office in the Globe buildings 
when a printer named George Bennett came in and asked for 
a certificate as to character. He had been dismissed by the 
foreman for drunkenness and irregularity. Mr. Brown replied 
that he had nothing to do with these things and referred him 
to the foreman or paymaster who knew all about him. He 
replied that he had already done so and been refused. He 
then commenced fumbling at his hip pocket, and it struck Mr. 
Brown that he was tryiug to draw a pistol and he at once 
seized him. The weapon had meantime been withdrawn and 
Bennett discharged it, the ball passing through the fleshy part 
of Mr. Brown’s leg. He, however, did not relax his hold, and, 
while calling for assistance, managed to disarm his assailant. 
He made light of his wound, but was conveyed to his resi- 
dence and medical assistance sent for. No danger was 
anticipated, but, being a man of great energy, he could not 
quietly yield to the necessary restrictions and insisted upon 
transacting business and doing other imprudent things. The 
result was that violent inflammation set in and after some 
days he grew delirious. After that he gradually grew weaker 
and weaker, until the struggle finally ceased on May 9th. 

It was felt by Mr. Brown’s friends that his long public 
services should not be forgotten, or his name allowed to pass 
into oblivion, a subscription list was therefore started, and a 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

couple of years later a bronze statue was erected to his 
memory in Queen’s Park, Toronto. Many prominent men of 
both political parties were present on the occasion of the 
unveiling, and we have much pleasure in referring to the 
tributes paid to his memory. 

Honourable Mr. Mowat said : “ In consequence of Mr. 
Mackenzie’s not having sufficiently recovered his health to 
speak with safety, the office has devolved upon me of saying 
something in regard to Mr. Brown from the standpoint of his 
party and political friends. It is a great gratification to those 
in whose name I speak to know that neither esteem nor admir- 
ation of our lamented friend is now confined to his political 
allies. The incessant warfare in which for many years he was 
engaged, and the uncompromising vigour with which that 
warfare was, on his part, carried on, made for him many 
enemies. Some of his enemies can see no good in him, but it 
is pleasant to know that not a few Canadians of hostile politi- 
cal opinions and sympathies have, notwithstanding, a kindly 
feeling towards their old opponent, and some appreciation also 
of his merits. A distinguished Conservative, a fellow-Senator, 
is here to-day to give expression to these sentiments (applause), 
and I am glad to see that not a few other Conservatives have 
come with him to do honour to the memory of our friend. 

“ Mr. Brown is the first public man in Ontario in whose 
memory a statue has been erected. Of our public men who 
have passed away, not one had more friends than he had, and 
I venture to say that not one was more generally lamented. 
Those who mourned his death as a personal and public 
calamity were to be found in every part of the Dominion, 
and amongst Canadians of all classes and all creeds. The 
place selected for erecting his statute is, with the approval 
of all parties, the park of the University — an institution in 
vhose efficiency and prosperity he had, all his life, taken a 
most lively interest. The springs of action which governed 
his life, are, to a very great extent, to be found in his early 
training and associations. He received his education in Edin- 
burgh, he left Scotland and came to America with his father 
and his father’s family while yet a youth, and two-thirds of 

Hon. George Brown’s Statue Unveiled. 


his life were passed here. By parental example and early 
teaching he was, in religion, a strong Protestant and an 
earnest Presbyterian, and in politics a Liberal and a Loyalist. 
(Applause). The studies and observations of his mature 
years confirmed in him the principles in which he had been 
educated ; and all his life he stood by those principles. 

“ All his life he loved his Queen and the grand old Islands 
of the sea over which she has reigned so long and so happily. 
All his life he loved British connection and British institu- 
tions ; and all his life he did his part in maintaining like 
sentiments wherever his influence extended. He was proud 
of his British nationality, and was in no haste to discover, 
and had no disposition to assume, that the time was near 
when the interests of Canada required the severing of our 
political relation to the old land ; but he, at the same time, 
recognized a supreme duty to be owing to the land of his 
domicile, and was always zealous in promoting whatever in 
his judgment was for the true and permanent good of Canada. 
Nor had any loyal British subject, anywhere, a kinder and 
more appreciative feeling than he had towards the great 
American Republic on our borders, or towards its energetic 
and progressive people. 

“ All his life he was in heart and soul a Liberal, as Liber- 
alism is understood in England, and as Liberalism is under- 
stood in Canada. He was always in harmony with the great 
majority of the Liberal party in the Province, and generally, 
though not always, with its other leaders. All his life his 
sympathies were with the masses everywhere. He loved free- 
dom with the profoundest love, and sympathized with all 
oppressed or ill-governed people. Slavery he hated with 
intense hatred, whatever its locality was, or whatever the 
colour of the slave or the master. All his life the subject of 
the education of the people was dear to him. He desired to 
see the utmost practicable extension of education amongst 
all classes, and the greatest possible efficiency in our Public 
Schools, our High Schools, and our Colleges. In regard to 
our Public Schools he was an earnest advocate for making 
them free to all, both as a means of increasing their efficiency, 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

and in order to give to the poorest in the land the advantage 
of the best schools and on the same footing as others. So in 
respect to every other subject of public interest. Regarding 
agriculture as the basis of the country’s wealth and pros- 
perity, he took a warm and active interest from an early period 
in all things relating to the calling of the farmer. He saw 
the enormous difference which skill makes in the productive- 
ness of the soil, and in the profits of the agriculturist. 

“ I have spoken of his religious position. All his life he 
continued to be attached to Protestantism, and to that form of 
it which Scotchmen have generally preferred to all others. He 
had no sympathy with skeptics or agnostics, or with hetero- 
doxy of any kind within the pale of his own church. 
(Applause). But he appreciated with equal earnestness, and 
recognized heartily, the good which there is in all Christian 
Churches. He was zealous for the religious equality of all 
religious denominations. He desired for them equal rights as 
far as legislation or government had to do with these. He 
was against exclusive claims on the part of any Church, and 
was, therefore, for entire separation between Church and State 
as best for Canada, whatever might be the case elsewhere. 
For like reasons he was for the secularization of the Clergy 
Reserves, aud for the undenominationalizing of the Provincial 
University. Until these objects had been accomplished, he 
waged hot warfare against all claims which stood in the way. 
While the controversy for these objects was going on, he was 
necessarily in strong opposition to the Church of England ; 
but when the fight was over, and religious equality secured, his 
warfare against that Church ceased, and henceforward the 
Church of England had, outside of its own pale, no better 
friend than Mr. Brown was. 

“ So, when the Lower Canada Roman Catholic majority in 
the Legislature was found to be opposed to the secularization 
of the Upper Canada Clergy Reserves, and when measures, 
distasteful to Protestants, were forced through Parliament, or 
were threatened, he spoke out the thoughts and fears of his 
fellow Protestants on these subjects. But when the Reserves 
were secularized, and a constitution was secured which left 

Hon. George Brown’s Statue Unveiled. 283 

matters of education, and the other local affairs of each 
province, to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Province, and all 
danger of encroachment from outside influence had become 
impossible, his warfare as a politician against Roman Catho- 
lics, their priests and professors, came to an end. And before 
his death this section of our fellow-citizens gradually resumed 
the friendly political and personal relations towards him and 
his party, which they had occupied before that warfare 

“ Apart from political questions, in regard to Which there 
was and will be the greatest possible difference of opinion, his 
journal was recognized by all parties as maintaining a healthy 
moral and religious tone. It ever took the moral and religious 
side of all non-political subjects with which a public journal 
has to deal ; and religious men of all denominations and 
political parties felt that, as such, the Globe and its proprietor 
was in sympathy with them, whatever many of them thought 
of the politics of the paper, or of Mr. Brown’s method of 
dealing with his political opponents. 

“ In politics he was, for many years of his life, the 
acknowledged leader of the Liberal Party in Upper Canada, 
and, as such, his ambition was to have public confidence, not 
by advocating political doctrines which he did not himself 
hold, and by conforming to prejudices which he did not share ; 
he desired the esteem and confidence of his fellows to come 
from his championship of the policy he loved, and from the 
sympathy which that championship should create. He 
desired the power which might come from sympathy with him 
as a patriot and a Liberal, a friend of religious equality and of 
popular rights. 

“ Political opponents have sometimes ascribed to him an 
overweening desire for office, and have attempted to account 
on that hypothesis now for one and now for another of the acts 
of his public life ; but nothing could be more unfounded, 
and nothing can be more easily disproved. I was behind the 
scenes for seven years before I retired from public life in 1864, 
and I know that the general feeling of his associates and 
followers was, that he was not anxious enough for office, that 

284 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

the obtaining of office was not only no part of his policy, but 
that his desire was, that his party and himself should remain 
in opposition until the objects should be obtained which are 
identified with his name, and which, however important and 
desirable, not a few of his friends and his foes alike regarded 
as impracticable. But the political platform which he adopted 
at an early date, and never ceased to insist upon, is sufficient 
to demonstrate that office could not possible have been his 
object. Take, for example, one of the planks, representation 
by population. He insisted that the two sections of the 
Province, Upper and Lower Canada, should be represented in 
the United Legislature according to population, without 
reference to a dividing line between the two sections of the 
province. The law, as it stood, gave to each section the same 
number of representatives, and the population of Upper 
Canada greatly exceeded that of Lower Canada. Mr. Brown 
insisted that this was unjust, and in the resolutions which he 
from time to time moved in the Legislative Assembly, and in 
the speeches which he made there and elsewhere, his habit was 
to trace all political grievances to the absence of that repre- 
sentation in Parliament to which Upper Canada was entitled. 
This policy was calculated to unite, and did, to a large extent, 
unite Lower Canada in antagonism to him and his party, and 
enabled the Government to be carried on with a minority 
from Upper Canada. Other planks of his political platform 
alienated from him, for many years, a large section of the 
Roman Catholic electors of his own province who had 
previously belonged to the Liberal Party. His policy in 
regard to all these matters, it is plain, was the worst possible 
for a politician whose aim was office, and it did not require a 
tithe of Mr. Brown’s foresight or sagacity to perceive this. 
Looking at his whole life, it is certain that either he was 
wholly wanting in desire for political office, or that the desire 
had less weight with him than with any other man in 
public life. 

“ The coalition of 1864 was an example of his boldness of 
character. It was a coalition with the men whom for years 
he had been attacking and denouncing. That coalition 

Hon. George Brown’s Statue Unveiled. 285 

brought about the federation of all the provinces of British 
America except Newfoundland, and has brought about the 
incorporation into Canada of the immense territory then 
claimed or occupied by the Hudson Bay Company, a favourite 
project of Mr. Brown’s, and settled the principal difficulties 
which had heretofore divided Canadian parties. These great 
issues could only have been accomplished by means of a coali- 
tion of parties. I do not purpose to suggest what share in the 
merit of the work belongs to each of the several parties to the 
coalition. But all agree that unless Mr. Brown had been a 
party to the undertaking, there could have been no coalition 
and no Confederation, and the necessity for the changes 
which the coalition accomplished arose from Mr. Brown’s 
long-continued contention, that constitutional changes were 
absolutely necessary both in the public interest and as a 
matter of justice and right, and from the part which he had had 
in creating a public sentiment throughout Upper Canada in 
accordance with this view. He also took an active part in 
framing the Constitution which is now embodied in the British 
North American Act, and one important feature of it, the 
absence of any Legislative Council in this province, may be 
regarded as altogether due to him. In some of the other 
provinces the example of the Ontario Constitution has since, 
in this respect, been followed, and in all probability it will 
ultimately be followed in all the provinces of the Dominion. 

“ Attempts have sometimes been made to show that in this 
or the other act of his life there was inconsistency, and from 
the alleged inconsistency dishonesty has been inferred. But 
if consistency of opinion and policy is a cardinal virtue in a 
public man, it may confidently be said of Mr. Brown that no 
leading British or Canadian statesman of any party has ever 
pursued a more consistent course than he did. If there had 
been more ground than there is for an imputation of incon- 
sistency it would be proper to remember that inconsistency 
may be honest or dishonest. Inconsistency may be the result 
of honest conviction, and apparent inconsistency may be the 
necessary consequence of a change of circumstances. Actual 
or apparent inconsistency may thus happen to be the duty of 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

a good man and earnest patriot. Numerous instances have 
occurred in both English and Canadian history, with reference 
to which this doctrine has to be borne in mind by the friends 
of successful statesmen, politicians and political writers, of all 

“ One of Mr. Brown’s most remarkable qualities was the 
readiness with which he was able to throw off the enormous 
burdens of his business cares and public anxieties, as if they 
were nothing. He could turn away in a moment from any 
great subject of interest, and amidst all his cares could confine 
his attention to any subject of however little comparative 
moment, and appear to be the most care-free of men. In the 
social circle he was always a conversable and delightful com- 
panion, and in the domestic circle he was a loving, appreciative 
and attentive husband, an affectionate, considerate father. 

“ I do not profess to set forth Mr. Brown’s faults and 
weaknesses. Everyone has these. But I claim for his memory 
that he was a man of wonderful power of intellect, wonderful 
energy and wonderful industry, an exceptionally vigorous 
writer and an exceptionally effective public speaker, and a 
man who had all his life many strong friends ; that he began 
public life with strong convictions, embracing almost the whole 
field of public questions, and that his policy on these questions 
was the result of these convictions. I claim for his memory 
that as a journalist and a politician, his influence on the whole 
was on the side of religion, morality and the public good. He 
was for thirty-seven years one of the most prominent public 
men in Canada, and during this period he exerted influence 
on our country so great that there are but one or two living 
men whose friends would claim for them an equal influence. 
From what he was, and what he did, his memory is precious, 
and will never cease to be precious to many thousands of the 
Canadian people. (Loud and prolonged applause). 

Honourable G. W. Allan next came forward and said : “ I 
have been honoured with the request to address a few words 
to you on this occasion, and I do so the more gladly because 
I was given to understand that it was the earnest desire of the 
friends of the great statesman whose statue has just been 

Hon. George Brown’s Statue Unveiled. 287 

unveiled to-day, that the ceremony should be as far as possible 
divested of any party character, and thus enable all alike, 
Conservatives as well as Liberals, to offer fitting homage to 
the memory of one who, for nearly forty years, occupied so 
conspicuous a place in the political history of Canada. May I 
be permitted to say also that it is particularly grateful to me 
to be allowed an opportunity, by taking part in this day’s pro- 
ceedings, of testifying to the feelings of personal regard which 
more intimate acquaintance and intercourse with the late Mr. 
Brown during the latter years of his life led me to entertain 
for him, and it is a deep satisfaction to me to feel that I pre- 
served his friendship unbroken and uninterrupted to the day 
of his death. 

“To Mr. Brown’s political career it is scarcely necessary 
that I should do more than allude, after the eloquent and 
enthusiastic address of the Attorney-General, who has natur- 
ally spoken of it with all the ardour and admiration of one 
who is in perfect sympathy with his subject, but that man’s 
mind must indeed be miserably warped and prejudiced who 
does not cordially recognize (whatever may be his own 
political views) the wonderful ability, the enormous energy, 
the untiring zeal with which Mr. Brown originated and 
followed up, whether in his place in Parliament or through the 
paper he controlled, those measures which he believed to 
be for the best interests of his adopted country. Indomitable 
energy was, indeed, one of the most striking features in Mr. 
Brown’s character, and it was that wonderful force and vigour 
which made him for so many years, whether in office or out of 
office, the one supreme leader of his party, whose authority 
none ventured to question, and gave him a power and 
influence which no single public man in this country, except it 
be his great Conservative rival, Sir John Macdonald, has ever 
attained to. I can testify also, from my personal knowledge 
of Mr. Brown, that he threw the same energy into matters 
which had no connection whatever with politics, and was at all 
times ready, with his vigorous assistance, in all undertakings 
which he thought might be useful to the country, or in any 
way beneficial to his fellow-citizens. 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

“ The Attorney-General has dwelt upon one important 
event, perhaps the most important event in its consequences 
to this country, in which Mr. Brown bore a principal part. 
I need scarcely say that I allude to the Confederation of the 
British North American Provinces. In originating and carry- 
ing out that great scheme, Mr. Brown acted cordially with 
old political opponents as well as friends, and in a noble 
picture, lately painted, of the ‘ Fathers of Confederation/ 
the work of a Canadian artist, which now adorns the vesti- 
bule of the Houses of Parliament at Ottawa, there is, I 
rejoice to say, preserved an admirable likeness of the great 
Liberal chief, who patriotically joined hands with leading 
statesmen of all parties to carry through a measure which has 
made Canada a nation, and a power in the Empire, of which 
she forms a part. There were many other measures in which 
Mr. Brown took a leading part during his long political career, 
and which Mr. Mowat has touched upon, on which public men 
differed widely, and opposed each other with all the bitterness 
and violence of party strife, and yet, looking calmly back upon 
them, when time and experience have given better opportunity 
for forming an impartial judgment, even those who were most 
strongly opposed to Mr. Brown will now be ready to recognize 
all that was good and patriotic in his objects and motives, 
where before they could, perhaps, only see what appeared to 
them unwise or injurious. It will, indeed, be an evil day for 
Canada when party spirit shall become so rampant that we 
cease to appreciate all that is good and noble in a political 

“ Doubtless, on subjects of such vital interest amid the 
struggle and excitement of political warfare, it is not always 
easy to do justice to those who are opposed to us, but as it 
has been well and generously said in a leading journal of the 
day, ‘ after the din and smoke of the contest has passed 
away, then good and true men on either side should always 
be ready to do justice to their adversaries. And those who 
were his strongest opponents are now ready to admit the 
patriotism and fortitude which ran through George Brown’s 
whole career.’ There was one trait which shone conspicuously 

Hon. George Brown’s Statue Unveiled. 289 

ously through the whole of Mr. Brown’s public life, and that 
was his unswerving loyalty to British connection. Like the 
veteran statesman who, this morning, performed what, I am 
sure, was to him the loving office of unveiling the statue of 
his old and valued friend, George Brown, while claiming for 
Canada the fullest political liberty and self-government, would 
as soon have cut off his right hand as to countenance or 
support anything which looked towards separation from the 
Empire. Canada, its interests and its prosperity, had a deep 
and abiding hold upon that great heart, but it did not displace 
the allegiance which he owed to his Sovereign, nor the 
patriotic pride of a loyal subject in the mightiest empire 
which the world has ever seen. 

“ While yet in the full vigour of life, with convictions as 
strong, and acted upon as vigorous^ as ever, but with many 
prejudices softened or removed, with a judgment ripened and 
matured by long and varied experience — no longer actively 
engaged in the thick of party warfare, but occupying a posi- 
tion which seemed to promise many long years of public use- 
fulness as a member of a body of whose rights and constitu- 
tional position he was, to the last day of his life, a staunch 
defender, still recognized alike by friends and opponents as 
a power in the land — George Brown was suddenly stricken 
down, and after many weeks of suffering was carried to his 
grave, mourned by men of all parties, who alike acknow- 
ledged ‘ that a great man in Israel ’ had, indeed, been taken 
away. Fitting then it is that all should take a generous and 
loving part in this day’s ceremony, and that noble statue, 
which has been given to-day to the people of Canada, speaks 
forth as it were, to all who gaze upon it — not only now, but 
in the generations to come — the true patriotic sentiment that 
Canadians, without distinction of party, will ever honour and 
respect the memory of all that is good and great in the public 
men of their common country.” (Applause). 




The Canadian Pacific Railway — Visit of Sir John Macdonald and others to Eng- 
land, July io, 1880 — Formation of Syndicate — The contract before Parlia- 
ment — Speech of Sir Charles Tupper — His review of the History of the 
Railway — The Policy of the Government — The cost contrasted with that 
of previous plans — The character of the Syndicate — The Security — The 
intentions and responsibilities of the Syndicate — Exemption from taxation 
— Prohibition of competing lines — The results hoped for. 

N July 10, 1880, Sir John Macdonald, Sir Charles 

Tupper, and Mr. John Henry Pope proceeded to Eng- 
land for the purpose of interesting capitalists in the building 
of the Pacific railway and, if possible, making a contract. 
They succeeded in their mission so well that, on September 
1 6th, they were able to announce that the preliminaries had 
been arranged, and then returned to Canada. They were fol- 
lowed by the representatives of the syndicate who, after a con- 
ference of a fortnight, signed a carefully prepared contract for 
the completion of the work. The terms of this agreement 
were not made known until after the meeting of Parliament, 
on December 9th. It was a long document of forty-one 
clauses, and too technical in its language to be of interest to 
the general reader. A better idea of its contents will be 
obtained from the following extracts, taken from the very 
able speech with which it was brought before the House by 
Sir Charles Tupper. 

Sir Charles Tupper said : “ Mr. Chairman, it affords me 
very much pleasure to rise for the purpose of submitting a 
motion to the House in relation to the most important ques- 
tion that has ever engaged the attention of this Parliament 
— a motion which submits for the approval of this House the 
means by which that great national work, the Pacific railway, 
shall be completed and operated hereafter in a way that has 
more than once obtained the approval of the House and the 
sanction of the people of this country, and upon terms more 
favourable than any that have ever previously been offered to 
the House. I shall be obliged, Mr. Chairman, to ask the 
indulgence of the House while, at some considerable length, I 

Speech on C. P. R. Contract. 


place before it the grounds upon which I affirm that this reso- 
lution embodies the policy of the Parliament of Canada, as 
expressed on more than one occasion, that these resolutions 
present terms for the consideration of this Parliament for the 
completion of this work more favourable than any previously 
submitted. And, sir, I have the less hesitation in asking the 
indulgence of the House, because I ask it mainly for the 
purpose of repeating to the House statements made by gentle- 
men of much greater ability than myself, and occupying 
positions in this House and country second to no other, and 
but for what took place here yesterday, I would have felt 
warranted in expressing the opinion that the resolutions, grave 
and important as they are, would receive the unanimous 
consent of this Parliament.” 

Mr. Blake — “ Hear, hear.” 

Sir Charles Tupper — “ I would, I say, have been warranted 
in arriving at that conclusion but for the very significant 
indications that were made from the other side of the House, 
because these resolutions only ask honourable gentlemen on 
both sides of the House to affirm a proposition to which they 
have again and again, as public men, committed themselves. 

“ I need not remind the House that when my right 
honourable friend, the leader of the Government, occupied in 
1871 the same position which he now occupies, the policy of 
constructing a great line that would connect the two great 
oceans which form the eastern and western boundaries of the 
Dominion of Canada received the approval of this House. 
And not only did the policy of accomplishing that great work 
receive the endorsation of a large majority in the Parliament 
of this country, but in specific terms, the means by which that 
work should be accomplished, were embodied in the form of a 
resolution, and submitted for the consideration of Parliament. 
It was moved by the late lamented Sir George Cartier : ‘ That 
the railway referred to in the Address to Her Majesty concern- 
ing the union of British Columbia with Canada, adopted by 
this House on Saturday, April 1st, should be constructed and 
worked by private enterprise and not by the Dominion 
Government, and that the public aid to be given to secure that 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

undertaking, should consist of such liberal grants of land and 
such subsidy, and any other aid not unduly pressing on the 
industry and resources of the country, as the Parliament of 
Canada shall hereafter determine.’ ” 

Mr. Blake — “ That was the resolution first brought down.” 
Sir Charles Tupper — “ That was the first resolution, and it 
was amended to state more strongly that the work should not 
involve an increase in the existing rate of taxation. The 
honourable gentlemen will agree with me that it embodies the 
mode upon which the road should be constructed. Now, sir, 
although honourable gentlemen in this House, although the 
two great parties represented in this House, may entertain 
differences of opinion as to the construction of the railway, 
and the means that may be adequate to its accomplishment, 
the House was unanimous in that, because the honourable 
gentlemen representing the Opposition in this House sup- 
ported a resolution introduced as an amendment to ours by 
the present Chief Justice Dorion, declaring that the road 
should be constructed in no other way, adding to the resolu- 
tion the words ‘ and not otherwise.’ The object of which 
was to make it impossible for any government to secure the 
construction of the road in any other mode than through the 
agency of a private company, or aided by a grant of lands and 
money. And while the resolution, moved by Sir George 
Cartier, declaring that the work should be constructed in that 
way, received the support of every gentleman on this side of 
the House, the still stronger affirmation moved by Mr. Dorion, 
that the work should not be done in any other way, received, I 
believe, the support of every gentleman on the other side of 
the House. Therefore, I think I may say that the policy of 
Parliament, not the policy of any one party, was distinctly 
affirmed in the resolution placed on the journals in 1871. 

“In 1872 it became necessary to state in distinct terms 
what aid the Government proposed, under the authority of 
that resolution, to offer for the construction of the railway. 
The journals of 1872 will show that Parliament, by a deliber- 
ate vote and by a very large majority, placed at the service of 
the Government a sum of $30,000,000 in money, and a grant 

Speech on C. P. R. Contract. 


of 50,000,000 acres of land for the construction of the main line, 
and an additional amount of 20,000 acres of land per mile for 
the Pembina branch of eighty-five miles, and of 25,000 acres of 
land per mile for the Nipigon branch. At that time, sir, I may 
r'emind the House that it was expected, as possibly may prove 
to be the case yet, that the line of the Pacific railway from 
Nipissing westward would run to the north of Lake Nipigon ; 
and provision was therefore made for a branch, by a vote of 
25,000 acres of land per mile for one hundred and twenty miles 
to secure connection between Lake Superior and the main 
line. Now, sir, these terms became the subject of very consid- 
erable discussion in this House and out of it ; and the Govern- 
ment having been sustained by a majority placing at their 
disposal that amount of money and that amount of lands to 
secure the construction of the railway, and the term of Parlia- 
ment having expired, the House was dissolved and the 
country appealed to. And, sir, after that question was placed 
before the country, a very sufficient working majority was 
returned to support the Government and confirm the policy 
which the House had adopted, both as to the mode in which 
the work was to be constructed, and as to the public money 
and public lands which the Government were authorized to 
use for the purpose of securing the construction of this work. 

“ Under the authority of this House in 1872, and under the. 
authority of the people of this country, the Government 
entered into a contract with a number of gentlemen, who sub- 
sequently selected Sir Hugh Allan as the president of the 
company, for the purpose of constructing the railway on the 
terms that I have now mentioned to the House. I need not, 
at this period, remind the House that that company, embrac- 
ing a number of the most able, leading, and influential men in 
finance and commerce, proceeded to England, at that time at 
all events the great money market of the world — I might 
almost say that it was then the only market in the world. 
They proceeded to England, and exhausted every means in 
their power to obtain the support of financial men in such a 
way as to enable them to carry that contract to completion. 
If my recollection does not fail me, the honourable leader of 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

the late Government on more than one occasion expressed the 
hope that that company would be successful. He always 
expressed his strong conviction that the means were altogether 
inadequate to secure the object in view ; but I think that on 
more than one occasion he expressed the patriotic hope that 
these gentlemen would succeed in obtaining the capital 
required, upon those terms. But, sir, they did not succeed 
as every person knows. After having exhausted every effort 
in their power, they were obliged to return and surrender the 
charter, under which they received authority to endeavour to 
obtain money for the construction of this great work. 

“ Well, sir, a very unpleasant result followed, and the then 
Government of this country met with a defeat. The means 
placed at their disposal to secure the construction of the great 
work which these gentlemen had in hand proved inadequate, 
and the Government also succumbed to the pressure from 
honourable gentlemen opposite. It is not a pleasant topic, 
and I will not dwell any longer upon it than is absolutely 
necessary to introduce the Administration which followed, 
led by the honourable member for Lambton. Now, sir, I 
have said on more than one occasion that in my judgment, 
inasmuch as the only authority which Parliament had given 
for the construction of the railway required that it should be 
done by a private company, aided by a grant of land and 
money, and inasmuch as the resolution embodying that state- 
ment, as the honourable leader of the Opposition has cor- 
rectly reminded me, also embodied the statement that it 
should not increase the existing rate of taxation, and inas- 
much as the Finance Minister of the Government at once 
announced to Parliament the fact that there was a great 
impending deficiency between the revenue and expenditure, 
it became patent that no progress could be made except in 
contravention of both these propositions. I have said before ) 
and I repeat now, that in my judgment the honourable 
leader of the then Government would have been warranted 
in stating that he was obliged to leave the question of the 
construction of the railway in abeyance. But, sir, he did 
commit himself in the most formal and authentic manner to 

Speech on C. P. R. Contract. 


the construction of the road, and notwithstanding the diffi- 
culties which had occurred, he appealed to the people of this 
country in the most formal manner in which it is possible. 

“ The House will, perhaps, allow me to draw attention to 
some very important statements contained in his manifesto. 
The honourable gentleman said : ‘ We must meet the diffi- 
‘ culty imposed on Canada by the reckless arrangements of the 
‘ last Government, with reference to the Pacific railway, under 
*' which they pledged the land and resources of this country 
‘to the commencement of that gigantic work in July, 1873, 
‘and to its completion by July, 1880.’ The honourable gentle- 
man will see that the term ‘ reckless arrangement ’ is con- 
fined and limited by the honourable gentlemen to the short 
time which we had allowed ourselves for the construction of 
the work, and not to the work itself. The honourable gentle- 
man further said : ‘ That contract has already been broken. 

‘ Over a million of dollars has now been spent in surveys and 
‘ no particular line has as yet, been located. The bargain is 
‘as we always said, incapable of literal fulfilment. We must 
‘ make arrangements with British Columbia for such a relaxa- 
‘ tion of the terms as will give time for the completion of the 
‘ surveys and subsequent prosecution of the work, with such 
‘ speed as the resources of the country shall permit of, and 
‘ without too largely increasing the burden of taxation upon 
‘ the people.’ The honourable gentlemen went on to say that 
they must, in the meantime, obtain some means of communi- 
cation across the continent, and that it would be their policy 
to ‘ unite the enormous stretches of magnificent water com- 
‘ munication with the lines of railway to the Rocky Moun- 
‘ tains.’ 

“In 1874 the honourable gentleman introduced a Bill for 
the purpose of providing for the construction of the railway, 
and in the course of a very able and exhaustive speech he 
placed very fully on record the opinions which he held, and 
which embodied the opinions of the Government at that time. 
He stated, as will be seen on reference to the Hansard of May 
12, 1874, that ‘the duty was imposed upon Parliament of 
‘providing a great scheme of carrying out the obligations 

296 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

imposed upon us by the solemn action of Parliament in this 
‘ matter. The original scheme was one that I opposed at the 
‘ time of its passage here, as one that in my mind then seemed 
‘ impracticable within the time that was proposed, and imprac- 

* ticable also within the means proposed to be used to accom- 
‘ plish it.’ I wish to invite the attention of the House to the 
formal declaration made on the floor of Parliament by the 
late Prime Minister, that the means that Parliament had 
placed at the disposal of the late Government by their prede- 
cessors, $30,000,000 and 54,000,000 acres of land, was 
utterly inadequate to secure the construction of the work. 
Then the honourable gentleman continues, ‘ I have not changed 
‘ that opinion, but being placed here in the Government, I am 
‘ bound to endeavour, to the utmost of my ability, to devise 

* such means as may seem within our reach to accomplish in 
‘ the spirit, if not in not in the letter, the obligations imposed 
‘ upon us by the treaty of union — for it was a treaty of union — 

* with British Columbia.’ I am sure that British Columbia will 
be very glad to be again reminded that the leader of the 
Opposition maintained that this was an absolute treaty of 
union with British Columbia. 

“ In 1875 the honourable gentleman, having had an oppor- 
tunity of considering the proposals which were embodied in 
his Bill, to which I shall invite the attention of the House 
more especially at a later period, obtained authority from this 
House to go on with the immediate construction of the rail- 
way by the direct agency of the Government, for he could not 
obtain it in any other way. Having obtained power from this 
House to give, not only $10,000 per mile for every mile 
between Lake Nipissing and the shores of the Pacific, and 
20,000 acres of land per mile, but also to give $10,000 in cash 
per mile for the branch eighty-five miles long to Pembina, 
and 20,000 acres ; and $10,000 and 20,000 acres per mile 
for the Georgian Bay branch of eighty-five miles long ; and 
also to give the further sum of four per cent, interest for 
twenty-five years upon such sums as might be found necessary 
in order to secure the construction of the work. 

“ In 1876, after longer experience, after having found that 

Speech on C. P. R. Contract. 


the financial difficulties of the country had certainly not 
decreased, the honourable gentleman was still undismayed, for 
in 1876, from the high and authoritative position of a Prime 
Minister submitting the policy of his Government to the 
country, after full and deliberate consideration, he enunciated 
the following views : ‘We have felt from the first that while it 
‘ was utterly impossible to implement to the letter the engage- 
* ments entered into by our predecessors, the good faith of the 
‘ country demanded that the Administration should do every- 
‘ thing that was reasonable, and in their power, to carry out the 
‘ pledges made to British Columbia, if not the entire obligation, 

‘ at least such parts of it as seemed to be within their power, 

‘ and most conducive to the welfare of the whole Dominion, as 
‘ well as to satisfy all reasonable men in the province of British 
‘ Columbia, which province had fancied itself entitled to com- 
‘ plain of an apparent want of good faith in carrying out these 
‘obligations. In endeavouring to accomplish this result we 
‘ have had serious difficulties to contend with, to which I shall 
‘shortly allude. The Act of 1874 prescribes that the Govern- 
‘ ment may build the road on contract in the ordinary way, or 
‘ it may be built on the terms set forth in Section 8, which 
‘provides that the Government may pay $10,000 and grant 
‘ 20,000 acres of land per mile, with four per cent, for twenty-five 
‘ years upon any additional amount in the tenders, to a com- 
‘ pany to construct portions of the line. The intention of the 
‘ Government was, as soon as the surveys were in a sufficiently 
‘ advanced state, to invite tenders for the construction of such 
‘ portions of the work as in the judgment of Parliament it might 
‘ be considered desirable to go on with, and that in the mean- 
‘ time the money that had been spent in grading should be 
‘held to be a part of the $10,000 a mile referred to in Section 
‘ 8. Whether the Government would be in a position during 
‘ the coming season to have contracts obtained and submitted 
‘ to Parliament for the whole line at its next session, is perhaps 
‘problematical.’ So that the honourable gentleman in 1876 
not only contemplated going on steadily with the prosecution 
of the work, or very important sections of the work, but he 
had it in contemplation to invite tenders for the construction 

298 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

of the whole railway on terms which, as I shall show specific- 
ally hereafter, were largely in excess of any authority we ever 
obtained from Parliament, and terms that, as I have said 
before, he himself held, and I suppose conscientiously held, to 
be utterly inadequate. 

“ In 1877, after another year’s experience, the honourable 
gentleman again stated the policy that still was the policy of 
his Administration in reference to this work. The late 
Administration in entering into the agreement for bringing 
British Columbia into the Confederation had an express obli- 
gation as to the building of the railway across the continent, 
from Lake Nipissing on the east to the Pacific Ocean on the 
west, within a specified number of years. ‘ When the present 
‘ Administration,’ he said, ‘acceded to power, they felt that this 
‘ like all treaty obligations, was one which imposed upon them 
* certain duties of administration and government which they 
‘ had no right to neglect, and that they were bound to carry the 
‘ scheme practically into effect to the extent that I have indi- 
‘ cated. The whole effort of the Administration from that day 
‘ to this has been directed to the accomplishment of this object 
‘ in the way that would seem to be most practicable and most 
‘ available, considering the difficulties to be encountered and the 
‘ cost to be incurred/ So that down to 1878, the House will see, 
the honourable gentleman still remained true to the obligation 
of the rapid construction of the railway, of its construction by 
the agency of a private company, and a grant of land and 
money. In 1878, the last occasion on which the honourable 
gentleman, with the authority of Prime Minister, discussed the 
question, he said, ‘ There can be no question of this, that it 
‘ was in itself a desirable object to obtain railway communica- 
‘ tion from one end of our Dominion to the other, traversing 
‘ the continent from east to west. So far as the desirability of 
‘ obtaining such a connection may be concerned, there can be 
‘ no real difference of opinion between any two parties in this 
‘ country, or amongst any class of our population.’ So that I 
am very glad, on this important question, in submitting reso- 
lutions of such magnitude for the consideration of this House, 
to have the anthority of the leader of the late Government, 

Speech on C. P. R. Contract. 


after years of close and careful examination of this question, 
given to the House and the country, that it was a matter, not 
only of vital importance to the country, but upon which both 
parties were agreed, not only in this House, but outside of it. 

“In 1878 the honourable gentleman also said : ‘ I have to 
‘ say in conclusion that nothing has given myself and the 
‘Government more concern than the matters connected with 
‘the Pacific railway. We are alive to this consideration — that 
‘ it is of vast importance to the country that this road should 
‘ be built as soon as the country is able to do it without impos- 
‘ ing burdens upon the present ratepayers which would be 
‘intolerable/ I quite agree with the honourable gentleman in 
that statement, and I am proud to be able to stand here 
to-day and offer for the honourable gentleman’s consideration, 
and I trust, after full consideration, for his support, a proposi- 
tion that will secure to this country the construction of that 
which he has declared to be not only a matter of honour to 
which the country was bound, but a matter of the deepest 
necessity to the development of the country, upon terms that 
will not impose any intolerable burdens on the ratepayers. 

“In 1878 there was a general election, the result being that 
my right honourable friend (Sir John Macdonald) was again 
charged with the important duty of administering the public 
affairs of this country, and again brought face to face with this 
great work. We found ourselves then called upon to deal with 
a work upon which a large amount of public money had been 
expended, and in a way that would prove utterly useless to the 
country unless measures were taken promptly to carry, at all 
events, the work under construction to completion. We, there- 
fore, were not in a position to effect any change of policy, as 
honourable gentlemen opposite will see. But we came 
to Parliament to reaffirm the policy of utilizing the lands of 
the North-West for the purpose of obtaining the construction 
of that vast work. There was every reason in the world why 
we should adopt that policy in the first instance and return to 
it afterwards. Every person knows that the development of 
this great territory was concerned in this gigantic undertak- 
ing ; that, irrespective of the question of the connection of 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

British Columbia, the progress and prosperity of Canada were 
to be promoted by the construction of the railway. We were, 
therefore, compelled to take it up as we found it, and go on 
with it as a Government work. To make the work, upon 
which so much had already been expended, of use to the 
country, we asked the House to place at our disposal 100,000,- 
000 of acres for the purpose of covering the expenditure in 
connection with the railway. We felt that by that means we 
should obtain the means of recouping to the treasury every 
dollar expended on this work. Honourable gentlemen also 
know that we proposed to obtain the co-operation of the 
Imperial Government. 

“ Although we had not propounded the policy of carrying 
on this work by the Government, we took up the work as we 
found it. We placed under contract the 127 miles of the road 
which the leader of the late Government had announced it as 
his intention to build, which he had assured the people of 
British Columbia he intended to build, and which, under the 
terms of Lord Carnarvon, he was bound to place under 
contract. When we met Parliament with the statement that 
we were going on with this work, I think we scarcely met with 
the amount of aid and co-operation from gentlemen opposite 
to which we were entitled. As we were only carrying out 
what they proposed, we had a right to expect to be met in a 
manner different to that in which we were met by them. The 
leader of the Opposition moved — and in making this motion 
he submitted a resolution directly in antagonism to the policy 
of the Government which he supported, and to his own recorded 
utterances on the floor of this House — that we should break 
faith with British Columbia and with Lord Carnavon, and that 
we should give — I was going to say the lie — to Lord Dufferin, 
who stated on his honour as a man that every particle of the 
terms of agreement with British Columbia was in a state of 
literal fulfilment. The result of the moving of this resolution 
was to place on the records of Parliament a vote of 13 1 to 49 
that good faith should be kept with British Columbia ; but we 
owed it to Canada to take up this work and prosecute it in 
such a way as we believed was absolutely necessary in order 

Speech on C. P. R. Contract. 


to bring it within such limits as would enable us to revert to 
the original policy of building the road by means of a com- 
pany ; and had we not placed that section under contract in 
British Columbia, had we not vigorously prosecuted the one 
hundred and eighty-five miles wanted to complete the line 
between Lake Superior and Red River, we would not have 
been able to stand here, laying before the House the best 
proposal for the construction of the road which has ever been 
made to this Parliament. (Cheers). 

“ When the Government of Canada had to present them- 
selves to capitalists, either in this country or in the United 
States or in England, and show how that year after year they 
had to meet Parliament with an alarming deficit and were 
unable to provide for it, and were adding from year to year to 
the accumulated indebtedness of the country, not for the pros- 
ecution of public works that were going to give an impetus to 
our industries, but merely to enable the ordinary expenditure 
of the country to be met, they failed. But when all this was 
changed, the aspect of affairs in relation to this work was also 
changed. Under the previous condition of things my honour- 
able friend opposite could not obtain offers in response to the 
advertisements which he published all over the world. The 
honourable gentleman might fairly assume that we could not 
obtain any offers either. But as I say — when under a changed 
policy, and when the Government had successfully grappled 
with the most difficult portions of this great work, and shown 
to the capitalists of the world, under the authority of this 
House, that 100,000,000 acres of land were placed at our 
disposal for the prosecution of the undertaking that we were 
not afraid to go on with its construction, or afraid to show 
that the construction of the railway was a work capable 
of fulfilment ; when we proved to the capitalists of the world 
that we ourselves had some confidence in this country and in 
its development, and that we were prepared to grapple with 
this gigantic work, the aspect of affairs was wholly changed. 
Well, sir, under these circumstances the Government sub- 
mitted their policy to Parliament, and they were met by 
obstruction. Last session they were met by a complete 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

change of front on the part of the Opposition in this House 
and the country. 

“ The men who had for five years declared that they were 
prepared to construct the Canadian Pacific Railway as a 
public work, the men who had pledged themselves to British 
Columbia to construct it as a public work, and who had in 
this House, in every way that men could, bound themselves, 
called a halt in order to obstruct the Government, when we 
took the only means by which we could remove the difficulty 
which had prevented the honourable gentlemen obtaining any 
offers in reply to the advertisement that he had sent all 
over the country. I have the advertisement in my hand. 
It was published on May 29, 1876, and it says that 
‘they invite tenders to be sent in, on or before January, 
‘ 1877, under the provision of the Canadian Pacific Railway 
‘ Act of 1874, which enacts that the contractors for its construc- 
‘ tion and working shall receive lands or the proceeds of lands. 5 
‘ Then it goes on to say that ‘ the proceeds of the lands at the 
‘rate of 20,000 acres, and cash at the rate of $10,000 for each 
‘ mile of railway constructed, together with interest at the rate 
‘ of four per cent, for twenty-five years from the completion of 
‘ the work on any further sum which may be stipulated in the 
‘ contract, shall be paid, 5 and that ‘ the Act requires persons 
‘ tendering to state in their offer the lowest sum, if any, per 
‘ mile, upon which such interest will be required. 5 That adver- 
tisement was published all over the world, in Great Britain, in 
this country, and I presume in the United States, and to it no 
response was made. I believe, under the circumstances to 
which I have adverted, that the time had come when we 
might deal with this matter from a better position. 55 

Sir Charles then went into calculations to show the cost of 
the road under the previous and present proposed plans to be 
as follows: 1873, $84,700,000; 1874, $106,387,300 ; 1880, 

$78,000,000 ; and dwelt at length on the value of the lands 
and the probable cost of the work. On the latter point we 
quote as follows : 

“ I will now give honourable gentlemen opposite an 
authority as to the cost of this work about tb be undertaken 

Speech on C. P. R. Contract. 


that I think they will be compelled to accept. On May 12, 
1874, the honourable gentleman (Mr. Mackenzie) said the 
cost from Lake Superior to Burrard Inlet would probably be 
$100,000,000, or something like that. This was an estimate 
from the leader of the late Government, the then Minister 
of Public Works, and submitted to Parliament on the 
authority of his own engineers, with all the judgment and 
experience that could be brought to bear upon it — that $100,- 
000,000 would be required for the road from Lake Superior 
at Thunder Bay to the Pacific ocean ; and yet the present 
proposition secures the construction of the entire road within 
Hen years from the first of July next, from Lake Nipissing to 
Burrard Inlet, at a cost to the country, at the estimate hon- 
ourable gentlemen opposite placed on the lands, of $78,000,- 
coo.” He continued : “We propose to give $10,000 per mile 
and a grant, the same as that proposed by the late Govern- 
ment, of 20,000 acres, and we invite intending competitors to 
state the amount for which they will require the guarantee at 
four per cent, in order to give them what they may deem a 
sufficient sum wherewith to build the road. We know that 
some think $10,000 per mile and 20,000 acres of land, suppos- 
ing they realize on an average $1 an acre, will not build the 
road. It would more than build it in some parts, but from 
end to end it is evident it would not build it. The Inter- 
colonial railway will cost $45,000 a mile, traversing on the 
whole a very favourable country. The Northern Pacific rail- 
way, in the accounts published by the company, has cost, 
so far as it has been carried, that is to Red River, $47,500, or 
$48,000 per mile in round numbers. That road traverses 
almost wholly a prairie region easily accessible, and where 
materials were easily found, and is altogether quite as favour- 
able as the most favourable spot of any part of our territories 
— with this advantage, that it was much nearer to the pro- 
ducers of supplies than any portion of our line except that 
on the immediate borders of the lakes. The Central Pacific 
I will not touch, as the cost of that road was so enormous 
as not to afford any criterion at all, because of the extraord- 
inary amount of jobbing connected with it. But, judging 



30 6 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

from the cost of other railways, we have no reason to suppose 
it will be possible to construct this line from end to end at 
a less price than $40,000 per mile, and it may exceed that 
by several thousands of dollars. Part of it will, of course, 
exceed that very much, though on the whole of the sections 
east of the Rocky Mountains, something in the neighbour- 
hood of that figure will cover the outlay/ 

“ The leader of the late Government further stated that 
the road could not be built as a commercial enterprise, and 
expressed a desire that the gentlemen who undertook the 
responsibility should show him how it was possible to con- 
struct a railway 2,500 miles long out of the pockets of a 
population of four millions, passing, during almost its entire 
length through an uninhabited country and for a still greater 
portion of its length through a country of very rough char- 
acter. I am glad the time has come when we can respond to 
the honourable gentleman. We are in a position to show him 
now that that gigantic work can be accomplished, and upon 
terms more favourable than any the most sanguine person in 
this country ventured to look for. And I ask the honourable 
gentleman not to forget, now that he is sitting on the Opposi- 
tion benches, that in estimating the cost as a Minister he felt 
he would not be doing his duty if he did not draw the atten- 
tion of the House to the fact that when the road was con- 
structed the liability resting upon the country would not be 
discharged, but just commencing. 

“ The honourable gentleman (Mr. Mackenzie) went on to 
say : ‘ Supposing it only takes the minimum amount estim- 
ated by Mr. Sandford Fleming, viz., 100,000,000, you have 
‘a pretty good idea of what it must cost the country in the 
‘end. When you double the debt of the country you will not 
‘be able to accomplish the borrowing of the sum of money 
‘ that would be required to build the road, paying the attend- 
‘ ant expense of management and the debt, interest, and every - 
‘ thing else connected with it/ The honourable gentleman 
opposite last session also enforced very strongly upon our 
attention the fact that if we went on with this work as a 
Government work, and stood pledged in the face of the 

Speech on C. P. R. Contract. 


country and of the financial world to an expenditure of eighty 
to a hundred million dollars for the construction of the rail- 
way, we could hardly be surprised if it increased the cost 
of the money we were obliged to borrow in the money 
markets of the world. The honourable gentleman said : ‘ If 
1 you add six per cent, upon the minimum amount to the 
‘ existing obligations of this country, you will have in addition 
‘ to our present annual burdens, $6, 000,000, which, added to 
‘ the cost of management, would probably make a continuous 
‘ drain of $12,000,000 before you would have a cent to apply to 
‘ the ordinary business of the country.’ A rather startling 
ground for the honourable gentleman to take, but one which 
commended itself to all those who listened to the honourable 
gentleman’s address. 

“ The honourable member for Lambton continued : ‘ Then 
‘ we come to the consideration of what would be the 
‘ position of the road after it was completed. W e have it on 
‘ Mr. Fleming’s authority, that until at least 3,000,000 of 
‘ people are drawn into that uninhabited territory, it is quite 
‘ impossible to expect the road to pay its running expenses. 
‘ Mr. Fleming estimates these at not less than $ 3 , 000, 000 per 
£ annum, and they have still further to be supplemented by the 
‘ proportion of money required each year to renew the road. 
‘ First, we would pay $100,000,000 to build the road ; next, 
‘ $8,000,000 to operate it, subject to the deduction of whatever 
‘ traffic the road received ; and, thirdly, we would have to 
‘ renew sleepers and rails every eight years unless we used steel 
‘ rails.’ This is the pleasant picture which the honourable 
gentleman himself drew for the consideration of the House 
and country. And now it appears he hesitates to secure the 
construction and operation of this road for ever at a cost of 

“ My honourable friend, the leader of the Opposition (Mr. 
Blake), no longer than a year ago, was good enough to give 
the House his opinion as to the cost of this road, and the 
liability that would be incurred, and I invite his attention to 
his own estimate as he then gave it. He said : ‘ Again, of 
‘ course, the through traffic depends on the road being first- 

308 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

‘ class, and we must remember that after we have spent all the 
‘ Minister proposes, we shall have, not a Pacific, but a coloniz- 
‘ ation road. According to the old system of construction, the 
1 central section would cost, including the other items I have 
‘ mentioned, altogether over $42,500,000, leaving out entirely 
‘ both ends. What are the ends to cost ? Forty-five million 
‘ dollars is, as I have stated, the cost from Edmonton to Burrard 
‘ Inlet on the west, and the cost from Fort William to Nipissing 
‘ on the east the honourable member for Lambton estimates at 
* $32,500,000. Thus the ends make up together $77,000,000, 

‘ the centre and the past expenditure to $42,500,000, making a 
‘ total of $120,000,000/ And yet the honourable gentleman is 
startled and astounded, and exhibits the most wonderful 
alarm, when he finds a proposal laid on the table of the House 
to secure the construction of all that work which, at the 
cheapest rate, was, according to him, to cost $120,000,000, for 

“The honourable gentleman (Mr. Blake) proceeded to say, 
that besides this enormous expenditure to which he had 
referred, he did not know how many millions of interest there 
would be. Fie said : ‘ Six millions a year they had to consider 
‘ for running expenses, which Mr. Fleming estimated at 
‘ $8,000,000, and which his (Mr. Blake’s) honourable friend 
‘ (Mr. Mackenzie) estimated at a gross sum of $6,750,000 a 
‘ year for the whole line, or $4,500,000 a year from Fort William 
‘ to the Pacific. Of course, against this sum was to be set the 
‘ receipts which, in some sections, perhaps, would meet expendi- 
‘ ture, but in the early days, if not for a long time, he (Mr. 
‘ Blake) believed the road would have to be run at a loss/ I 
know that this is an authority for which the honourable 
leader of the Opposition has a most profound respect (cheers 
and laughter), and I trust that in submitting such criticisms as 
in the interests of the country every Government measure of 
this kind ought to receive, the honourable gentleman will not 
lose sight of the position he took in criticising our proposals 
twelve months ago. 

“ I trust I have given to the House sufficient evidence to 
show not only that the proposal which I have the honour to 

Speech on C. P. R. Contract. 


submit to Parliament is entitled to the favourable considera- 
tion of the Opposition, not only that it is greatly within the 
amount voted by this House in 1873, and subsequently in 
1874, for the construction of the railway, but that it is a 
contract based upon figures, which compared with those which 
honourable gentlemen opposite, after all their experience in 
connection with this work, regarded as altogether insufficient 
for its construction, are exceedingly favourable to this country. 
Now I am bound to say I never felt more grateful in Par- 
liamentary life than when, notwithstanding the startling state- 
ments made by those honourable gentlemen, this House placed 
100,000,000 acres at the disposal of the Government for the 
purpose of constructing the railway. I knew that every intel- 
ligent man in this House and out of it regarded that measure 
as of vital importance to the country. I knew they felt it was 
a duty we owed to the country to grapple with this great 
work, notwithstanding the enormous liability it involved. The 
Government were sensible of this generous feeling on the part 
of their supporters in this House in sustaining us, notwith- 
standing the fears and the alarm that was sought to be created 
by honourable gentlemen opposite when they found them- 
selves in Opposition. 

“ I say the House can understand the pleasure with which 
we meet the people of Canada through their representatives 
to-night, and are enabled to say that by the means which we 
were authorized to use for the construction of this work, we 
are in a position to state not only that the entire construction 
from end to end, but that the responsibility of operating it 
hereafter, are to be taken off the shoulders of Canada for the 
insignificant consideration of something like the cost to the 
country of $2,000,000 per annum. That will be the ultimate 
cost, assuming that we have to pay the interest on all the 
money the syndicate will obtain under this contract. We are 
in a position not only to show that, but to show that out of 
the 100,000,000 acres of land that Parliament placed two years 
ago at our disposal we have 75,000,000 acres left with which 
to meet the $2,000,000 of expenditure, and that expenditure 
will be diminished until at no distant day we will not only 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

have the proud satisfaction of seeing Canada assume an 
advanced and triumphant position, but that she will be relieved 
from the expenditure of a single dollar in connection with the 
construction or operation of this railway. 

“ The gentlemen who have undertaken this work stand 
before the people of this country to-day in the strongest posi- 
tion that it is possible for gentlemen to occupy in relation to 
a great enterprise such as this. The Canadians engaged in 
the enterprise are men who are second to none in respect of 
commercial standing and capacity, and by their success in 
carrying out their own great railway enterprises they have 
afforded us the best possible guarantee for the manner in 
which they will fulfil their engagements with the Government 
and Parliament of Canada. This company embraces capital- 
ists, both of our own and of other countries, who are men of 
the highest character, men whose names are the best guarantee 
that could be offered the people of Canada that any enterprise 
they may undertake will be successful. With regard to the 
terms of the contract, I do not hesitate to say that no greater 
injury could have been inflicted on the people of Canada than 
to have made the conditions of the engagement so onerous 
that instead of insuring their successful fulfilment, they would 
have led to failure. I say that everything that men could do 
for the purpose of obtaining the best terms in their power has 
been done, but our idea has been that we owed it to Canada 
to make a contract that was capable of fulfilment, to give those 
gentlemen a fair contract, and afford them a fair opportunity 
of grappling with this great, this gigantic enterprise that we 
were so anxious to transfer from our shoulders to theirs. 
Whether you look at the American, or the Canadian, or at the 
English, French or German gentlemen associated with this 
enterprise, I believe that Canada has been most fortunate, and 
the Government has been most fortunate, in having this work 
placed in their hands. 

“ It is stated that the security of $1,000,000 for the carry- 
ing out of the contract is too small. They say that a paid-up 
capital of $5,000,000 within two years, and a deposit of 
$1,000,000 is too small. My opinion of security is this — that 

Speech on C. P. R. Contract. 

3i i 

provided you get the parties who are most likely to deal 
successfully with the matter, the less security you demand the 
better, because in proportion as you lock up the resources of 
the party, the more you decrease his power to carry on his 
work successfully. 

“ The syndicate intend tne road to be completed to the 
foot of the Rocky Mountains at the end of three years from 
the present time. If it be thought a gigantic work to build 
300 miles of railway by this powerful syndicate in a year, I 
may tell honourable gentlemen, for their information, that 
within the last year a few of these gentlemen completed 
between 200 and 300 miles of railway themselves, through a 
somewhat similar country ; and therefore it is not an extrava- 
gant statement for them to make in stating that they intend 
to construct to the foot of the Rocky Mountains in three years 
and to build 300 miles of this road during the coming season. 
What does that involve ? It involves the expenditure of an 
enormous amount of capital at the outset. The very moment 
this contract is ratified by Parliament, these gentlemen have 
to put their hands in their pockets, and not only rake there- 
from $1,000,000 to deposit with us as security, but they have 
to put their hands into another pocket the next hour, and take 
out another million to equip the road ; and that will be done 
within the course of the year. After reading the lachrymose 
statements of the honourable leader of the late Government 
about these lands and the difficulty of getting them sold, it is 
not unreasonable to suppose that with all their energy and 
industry it will take two or three years before they can make 
these lands to any large extent serviceable by a return of 
money from their sale. 

“ These gentlemen have, therefore, at the outset, to lay out 
an enormous sum of money for equipment and in providing 
the plant necessary to run that work during the coming three 
years ; and they have in the next place to wait for a consider- 
able period before they can receive any return for the lands. 
At the end of the three years all that plant will, of course, be 
applicable to the other sections. I believe, therefore, the more 
it is examined, the more it will be found that in the division of 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

money no injustice has been done, and those who place confi- 
dence, not in us, but in the statement of the leader of the late 
Government, have only to take his own statements, which 
have been read to-night, and that was his estimate of $40,000 
per mile for the portion to be constructed west of Red River, 
to perceive the advantage of the proposed arrangement. 
There is another million they have to put their hands into 
their pockets to pay us, and that is for the work we have con- 
structed west of the Red River, and the material we have on 
hand applicable for the purposes of construction, 

“Under these circumstances, honourable gentlemen’s minds 
will be relieved to know that we have made the very best 
division of the money, if the enterprise is to prove anything 
but a failure. There is a great expenditure of money to be 
made, at the very outset, in bringing people to this country. 
I regard this proposal to secure the construction of the Canada 
Pacific Railway by the agency of this company, as of the most 
vital importance from the point of view that, instead of having 
to struggle with railway companies in competition for emi- 
grants, we will have a gigantic railway company, with all its 
ramifications in the United States, France, Germany, and the 
British Islands, co-operating with the Government of Canada. 
But all that will involve a present outlay of a very large sum 
of money by these gentlemen. The only hope they can have 
of having any means of sustaining the railway, if it is con- 
structed, is by getting population as rapidly as possible into 
the fertile valleys of the North-West, and thus furnish the 
traffic which alone can support the operation of this railway. 

“ I am told that another very objectionable feature is the 
exemption of the lands from taxation. I have no hesitation 
in saying I would have been very glad if that was not in the 
contract, if it were only to meet the strong prejudice that 
exists in this country on that question. But there were two 
things we had to consider. One was to make the best bargain 
we could for Canada, and the other was not to impose terms, 
that without being of any material advantage to the country 
would be likely to lead to disaster in the money markets of the 
world, when the prospectus was placed on those markets. 

Speech on C. F. R. Contract. 


Every one will understand that the position in respect to the 
taxation is not changed in the slightest degree from that in 
which we stood last year. When we were constructing this 
road as a Government work, when my honourable friend was 
constructing it by direct Government agency, no taxation 
could have been raised on these lands until they were utilized, 
or until they were occupied. No province, municipality or 
corporation of any kind, at present or that could be created 
hereafter, could impose the slightest tax on those lands until 
they were sold or occupied ; and when they are sold or 
occupied now, that moment they are liable to taxation. 

“ I will not stop to discuss the question of the road itself 
being exempt from taxation, because honourable gentlemen 
have only to turn to the laws of the United States. The 
policy of the Government of the United States has always 
been that the national lines of railway, the roadway, the road 
itself, the stations, everything embraced in the term railway, 
should be exempt from taxation. One of the judges of the 
courts of the United States declared that as these great lines 
of road were national works, were public easements ; that 
as they were for the benefit and advancement of the whole 
country, they should not be subject to any taxation, state or 
municipal. We have, therefore, only followed the practice 
that has prevailed in the United States, and that which 
honourable gentlemen opposite will feel was incumbent 
upon us. What was our position ? We were asking these 
gentlemen to come forward and take a position from which we 
shrank. I do not hesitate to say that, important as the enter- 
prise was, the Government felt it was one of enormous 
magnitude, aud trembled almost when they regarded the 
great cost of construction and operation of the road when 
constructed ; and I ask when we were shifting from our 
shoulders to the shoulders of a private company all the 
responsibility, I ask this House, in candour, to tell me whether 
they do not think that, as far as we could, we ought to have 
put these gentlemen in as favourable a position for the con- 
struction of the road as we occupied ourselves ? That is all 
we have done, and, as I have said before, the moment the 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

lands are utilized and occupied they become liable to taxa- 

“ It is said that a great enormity has been committed by 
the prohibition to construct lines running in any other 
direction than a certain one — south-west and west by south- 
west. Well, sir, I am a little surprised to hear any such 
objection, and I shall listen with great interest to honourable 
gentlemen on the other side of the House if they have any 
objection of that kind to make. A year ago a company, with 
as strong claims to consideration as it would be possible for 
any company to have on the Parliament of Canada, came to 
us for permission to construct a railway. They asked for no 
money. They asked no aid. They only asked for permission 
to construct a railway of a certain kind. Why did we refuse 
it ? Why, sir, we were very sorry to refuse it, but the Govern- 
ment, having taken the subject into careful consideration, 
decided, inasmuch as Canada was dealing with the construction 
of the great Canadian Pacific Railway, and inasmuch as the 
only hope of maintaining this road, and of operating it after it 
was built, was to retain the traffic of the Canadian North- 
West by the trunk line, we came to the conclusion that it was 
not in the interests of the country, however greatly any section 
might demand and need it, to construct a line which would 
carry the traffic of the North-West out of our country, and 
leave our trunk line, which had cost the country such a great 
sum of money, denuded of the traffic necessary to sustain it. 

“ I am glad that I shall not be compelled to trespass 
further upon the attention of the House. When I rose I 
expressed the pride and pleasure it gave me to be able to 
propound to Parliament a measure which will secure in ten 
years the construction of the Pacific railway upon terms more 
favourable than the most enthusiastic friend of the railway 
had ventured to hope, and to which this Parliament will have 
the opportunity of putting its seal of ratification. I have the 
satisfaction of knowing that throughout this country every 
man breathed more freely when he learned that the great 
undertaking of constructing and operating the railway was 
to be lifted from the shoulders of the Government, and that 

Speech on C. P. R. Contract. 


the liability the country was going to incur was to be brought 
within, not only the limit which, in its present financial con- 
dition, it is prepared to meet, but within such limits that the 
proceeds from the sale of the lands granted for the construc- 
tion of the line will wipe out all liabilities at no distant day. 

“ And I say we should be traitors to ourselves and to our 
children if we should hesitate to secure, on terms such as we 
have the pleasure of submitting to Parliament, the construc- 
tion of the work which is going to develop all the enormous 
resources of the North-West, and to pour into that country 
a tide of population which will be a tower of strength to every 
part of Canada, a tide of industrious and intelligent men who 
will not only produce national, as well as individual, wealth 
in that section of the Dominion, but will create such a 
demand for the supplies which must come from the older 
provinces, as well as give new life and vitality to every 
industry in which those provinces are engaged. 

“ Under these circumstances we had a right to expect 
that support which, in justice to themselves and their position 
as statesmen, honourable gentlemen opposite should give us. 
I say, sir, that looking at this matter from a party point of 
view, the lowest point of view, I feel that these gentlemen, 
by following the course they propose, are promoting the 
interests of the party now in power, just as they promoted 
our interests when they placed themselves in antagonism to 
the National Policy, which the great mass of the people desired. 
Sir, I am disappointed at the course of the honourable gentle- 
men, but I hope, upon future reflection, at no distant day the 
results of this measure will be such as to compel these gentle- 
men candidly to admit that in taking the course which we 
have followed we have done what is calculated to promote 
the best interests of the country, and that it has been attended 
with a success exceeding our most sanguine expectations.” 
(Loud and long continued applause). 


Opposition objections to the Pacific Railway Contract — Mr. Blake’s public meet- 
ings — The policy he advocated — Sir John Macdonald’s speech — He gives 
the history of previous negotiations — Criticises Mr. Blake’s scheme — Dis- 
cusses the clauses of the contract seriatim — And ably defends the policy of 
the Government — A short account of the Canadian members of the Syndi- 
cate, Lord Mount-Stephen, Sir Donald A. Smith, Mr. Angus and Mr. 
McIntyre — And of the President, Mr. W. C. VanHorne. 

T HE terms of the contract did not meet with the approval 
of the Opposition. Mr. Blake criticised it in a very 
able speech, examining every clause in the most minute 
manner and was followed by other members of his party. 
None of the conditions seemed to find favour in their eyes. 
They objected to the subsidy, to the time limit, the exemp- 
tions from taxations, the clause against competing roads, etc. 
Mr. Blake was so much opposed to the fulfilment of the 
bargain that, during the Christmas holidays, he organized 
public meetings at Toronto and elsewhere, to enable him 
better to present his views before the country and thus bring 
such pressure upon Parliament that the Government would 
not be able to carry their measure. On these occasions he 
presented his arguments in a clever and forcible manner which 
so impressed his audiences that anti-syndicate resolutions were 
passed. In his opening remarks in the St. Lawrence Hall, 
Toronto, he said : “ I am very sorry that the circumstances 
are such as to require a meeting to be called at this time of 
the year. It is a time at which I am sure we would all very 
much rather be otherwise occupied than we are to be occupied 
to-night. It is a time of social and domestic enjoyment, of 
pleasant memories, and of peace and good fellowship, and I 
hope that although we are engaged from the necessity of the 
case in an occupation somewhat incongruous, yet that enough 
of the spirit of this time will prevail to render our discussion 
good-humoured and civil with one another. It is with this 
view that you have an opportunity to learn something of and 
to make up your minds upon the great question before its fate 
is irrevocably sealed. It is now only a few days since the 


Mr. Blake’s Objections to the Contract. 317 

Pacific Railway bargain was made public, and within a very 
few days we will resume the discussion of it. It was intended 
by those who thought they could pass the measure that we 
should have closed the discussion before this time, and that 
already, before you had an opportunity of informing yourselves 
upon it, it should have been made into a law. That intention 
has not prevailed, but there is only a short breathing space 
before the period at which the peoples’ representatives in 
Parliament will be called upon for their votes on this sub- 
ject, and in the meantime it is of the highest consequence 
that the people themselves, whose interests, both in this gen- 
eration and in generations yet unborn, are materially affected 
by this measure, should have an opportunity to speak their 
minds. Those of us who acted together as the Liberal party 
ten years ago, opposed the terms of union with British 
Columbia on the score of the obligations then entered into 
to construct the Canada Pacific Railway, commencing it within 
two years and finishing it within ten years, and we declared 
that a work of such gigantic magnitude, over an unknown 
country ought not to be stipulated for, either as to its com- 
mencement or its conclusion, by any time except that when it 
was possible to achieve it with the resources of the country. 
We were overruled then, as we may be overruled now, by 
the majority in Parliament, and the country was in some 
sort bound by obligations, the fatal effect of which is urged 
now as the excuse for this bargain to which your assent is 

The pecuniary result of the contract Mr. Blake estimated to 
be, that including the completed portions of the road, which were 
to be handed over to the syndicate, they would receive in cash, 
or its equivalent, $6,000,000, and 25,000,000 acres of land, which 
at $3.18 per acre, would be worth $79,500,000. The cost of 
the whole road still to be completed he placed at $50,000,000, 
less the Government subsidy of $25,000,000, so that all the 
money the syndicate would require to furnish would be 
$25,000,000, and for this amount they would get a completed 
road costing about $80,000,000, and the land grant valued as 
above. If, therefore, these lands only sold for $1.00 per acre 

The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 


the syndicate would get the railway free of cost. The policy 
which he proposed in place of that of the Government may be 
gathered from the following extracts : 

“ The true course is to go to work and build the railway 
where it is wanted now, to build it to complete the connection 
with Thunder Bay (applause), and continue it as the needs of 
the settlement of the country require. Railway facilities are 
required to settle the North-West. What is needed to pay for 
the unproductive ends of this line ? A productive middle 
portion. Make the middle, make the backbone, get in the 
population. Put the railroad there ; do what is necessary to 
give the lands value, and when you have the population and 
the sustaining power, then, if you please, proceed with the 
construction. They admit these lands will not have a value 
unless the railway goes there. You can put it there at the 
expenditure of a very few millions of dollars, or a very few 
millions of acres of land. You can put it through those very 
parts necessary in order to develop the North-West, and give 
value to the remainder of the lands and yet keep the bulk of 
these lands to acquire the additional value which the railway 
will give them. Don’t part with them now when they have not 
this value, keep them until then, and when they are worth 
money, make their value build the rest of the road. 

“ I now v/ant to show you how great economy might be 
effected at the eastern end of the road. This proposal to 
build the section north of Lake Superior is a new one, for 
it has hitherto been regarded by both Governments as a thing 
of the future. According to Sandford Fleming’s estimate the 
road will cost $22,686,000, or eleven-twenty-fifths of the whole 
road. The subsidy in land and money divided so as to give 
this branch a fair share would give $11,000,000 and the 
same number of acres of land. At $3.18, average price laid 
down by Government, or at say $3.00, this land would be 
worth $33,000,000, in all equal to a cash subsidy of $44,000,000. 
All this is to be sunk in building the eastern link. My proposi- 
tion is to establish communication with the West, and furnish 
a through line to seaboard at one-eleventh of the cost of this 
scheme, and within three instead of within ten years. But 

Mr. Blake’s Objections to the Contract. 319 

before I talk to you of the railway connection, let me show 
you what the country would be if you went no further than 
the Sault. If you get up to that point you get to the waters 
of Lake Superior, with a good harbour and a run of 300 miles 
to Thunder Bay. After which a connection of 460 miles by 
rail will take you to Selkirk. You have thus, for nine months 
in the year, the directest route that man can devise to the 
North-West, and I find that the grades and curves on the 
Thunder Bay line are so good that the cost per bushel for 
grain over this portion of the Lake Superior route should 
not exceed two cents per bushel. It would pay well at 2j^c. 
per bushel. The only objections that can be urged against 
this route is the necessity for transhipment, and the fact that 
it is not open all the year. All that you get by building to 
the Sault ; but that is not all. That is the most insignificant 
part of the benefit. From the Sault to the Straits of Mac- 
kinaw is but thirty or forty miles. From this point westward 
a link of some sixty-three miles is already built, and from 
the Northern Pacific junction at Duluth the company is 
cutting out the road, so that within one or two years there 
will be complete railway communication between Duluth and 
the Sault. This means a present route to the North-West by 
this circuitous line fifty to eighty miles longer than is pro- 
posed to be built. It means as practicable a route as you 
can ever get to the North-West. It means that you would 
get for the expenditure of one-eleventh of what you propose 
to spend in the east, in less than one-third of the time, a road 
for all purposes equally good by way of all rail connection, 
and a first-class land and water route through our own terri- 
tory. (Loud cheers). 

“That is what it does for the North-West, and for you 
in connection with the North-West. But that is not all. 
That road is the key of the possession of the trans-con- 
tinental trade of nearly 400 miles of the United States of 
America. The Northern Pacific Railway is stretching out 
towards the Sault, knowing that its shortest line to New York 
is through Canada by way of Brockville. Canada has in the 
Sault Ste. Marie the key of the position, and to an enormous 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

trade ; a trade not simply in the future, though largely so, 
perhaps, but capable of enormous improvement in the present. 
These men offer in ten years, at an expense of from $20,000,- 
000 to $40,000,000 to give you an all-rail communication with 
the North-West. I offer you for one-eleventh part of the sum 
to give you through railway connection with the North-West 
in three years on a first-class road, for the traffic of the north- 
western States will be such as to demand first-class accommo- 
dation. I offer you in three years not merely the present 
small and prospectively large traffic, but also the present large 
and infinitely greater traffic of an immense portion of Ameri- 
can territory. The shortest air line from San Francisco to 
Europe is by the Sault Ste. Marie. Instead of groping for 
ten long years, and at infinite cost, through this new wilder- 
ness in which your children are asked to wander, . I ask you 
to take in three years, at a fraction of the cost, the important 
traffic of the North-West and the prospective traffic of the 
South-West as well. As to the eastern connection, when it 
is demanded let it be built.” 

Speaking of freight rates, Mr. Blake said : “ Their first 
tariff will necessarily be high, for, as just pointed out by a 
gentleman in the audience in the case of the St. Paul, 
Minneapolis, and Manitoba, where the traffic is light the rates 
must be proportionally heavy. Once that high tariff is fixed 
it never can be lowered until the happy day arrives when they 
can pay ten per cent, upon the whole of your money invested 
in its construction. (Cheers and laughter). Let us see how 
the North-West will be affected by this. The middle will 
have to pay for the ends, for neither the eastern nor western 
sections can be made to pay. So, that the man who has his 
grain carried over the prairie section will have to pay not only 
a fair price for the carriage, but also the losses upon the 
unproductive sections, and on top of all that a dividend upon 
the whole capital invested in the road. The syndicate might 
sink a few millions of dollars in the road, though it would be 
made up to them from sales of land. Suppose they invested 
$5,000,000, and the road cost $90,000,000, they would make 

Mr. Blake’s Objections to the Contract. 321 

$9,000,000, a year. Wouldn’t you like to belong to the 
syndicate?” (Loud cheers and laughter). 

It is with no intention to do injustice to Mr. Blake’s able 
effort that we do not quote more of it. From his point of 
view it was a masterly production and demanded an answer. 
This answer was given by Sir Charles Tupper at London and 
other places, and the speeches of these two great political 
gladiators will furnish to the careful reader the best view of 
the position taken by the Government and by the Opposition 
on this great question. We will, therefore, only add that Mr. 
Blake entirely disapproved of the conditions, and considered 
the contract a “ monstrous abortion.” We are quite safe in 
saying that even though no modification should have taken 
place in his views during the last ten years, a great change 
has taken place in the views of those who listened to him in 
1880, and that the people of Canada to-day recognize the 
wisdom of the policy then inaugurated, and would not do 
without the Canadian Pacific Railway, and go back to the old 
condition of affairs under any circumstances whatever. 

It was, of course, impossible that in a debate of so much 
importance, Sir John Macdonald should not take a leading 
part. The great scheme had originated in his brain, and it 
is a well understood fact that when he first promulgated 
the idea, he was considered so far in advance of the times 
that he had, not only to contend with his political foes, but 
even to persuade his most intimate friends, of the feasibility of 
the project. When, therefore, it was about to take a shape 
that would ensure its successful completion and the proposed 
contract was being fiercely attacked by the members of the 
Opposition, he joined with his Ministers in a vigorous defence. 
Parliament having re-assembled after the Christmas holidays, 
the debate was renewed with great earnestness. On January 
1 7, 1881, Sir John made a most eloquent speech. We will not 
give it in full, but only such portions as will convey a fair idea 
of the arguments he advanced. 

He said: “ I intended on Friday night to have made 
some remarks on the amendment that was then in your 
hands, but unfortunately for myself, and perhaps fortu- 




The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

nately for the House, I was too much indisposed to be 
able to do so, and I was obliged to leave the Chamber. 
That motion, however, disposed of, considerable discussion 
was carried on, but it was still supposed to be en regie , and 
with your permission, and the permission of the House, I 
shall offer a few remarks, and they will not be long, on 
the subject so brought up and involved in that resolution 
and the amendment, and on the discussion which arose upon 
it. Sir, in the first place I would like to speak of the posi- 
tion of the Government with respect to the whole question. 
It is true it has been treated ad nauseam in this House and in 
the country, but, holding the position that I do, I think it not 
improper or a waste of time if I recall the attention of the 
House to some of the facts connected with the present condi- 
tion of this great enterprise, and in doing so I must offer my 
most humble and respectful apology to my colleague who sits 
next me, the Minister of Railways, because he has again and 
again gone over the whole ground in a manner which I may 
imitate, but which I cannot hope to emulate. 

“ It is known that from the time that British Columbia 
came into Confederation — and I need not read the journals of 
the House to prove the fact — the declared preference of both 
sides of the House of the then Parliament was in favour of the 
construction of the Pacific railway by an incorporated com- 
pany. If we commence from that starting point, and if we 
look through the whole line of the discussion and the whole 
line of the policy of the two Governments which have had to 
deal with that question, we shall find that thread running 
through the whole subject, connecting it in such a manner that 
it could not, without complete severance of the thread, be 
altered. It was felt in the country, in the House, and by 
every thinking man, that if we should be fortunate enough, if 
Canada should have sufficient credit in the market where capi- 
talists most do congregate, to induce capitalists to come 
forward and undertake this great work, we would have 
obtained for the Dominion a great advantage. Our legislation 
was based upon that idea in 1872. The legislation of the 
Government that succeeded us was based upon the same 

Construction by Company Popular. 


principle, that it was advisable to avoid all the trouble, 
responsibility and uncertainty, and all the danger to be appre- 
hended of making a great work like this a political engine. It 
was thought by all parties that it was of the greatest conse- 
quence that all those obstructions to the successful prosecution 
of the work, to the carrying out of this great object, and 
connecting this country from sea to sea, and making it one in 
fact as well as in law, should be removed ; that it was of the 
greatest consequence that the work should be expedited, that 
it should not be carried on as a political work, that it 
should not be made a matter over which rival parties could or 
would fight ; that it should be undertaken on commercial 
principles, and be built by a body of capitalists like any other 
railway, with the hope and expectation that the capitalists 
would get a full, fair return for all their risk, for all their 
expenditure, and for all their responsibility. 

“ The whole country was in favour cf that proposition, if it 
was possible to have it carried out. We tried, and we failed, 
although we made an effort — a strong and almost a successful 
effort — in 1872 to thus build the railway. I will not drag into 
this discussion, as far as I am concerned, and as far as my 
remarks are connected with the subject, any references to the 
political past. Allusions were made to it by those opposed to 
the Government, especially by those who desired to asperse 
myself, but, sir, there is the record ; there is the fruit of the 
appeal to the country, and I am Prime Minister of Canada. 
But whatever may have been the cause of the failure of Sir 
Hugh Allen and the first company that was organized for the 
purpose of building this road, I can see without reference to 
any political reason why that company was defeated. I can 
only say it was not from any want of the strongest opposition 
offered to the Government of which I was the head, but it was 
in consequence of the two things occurring together : the per- 
sonal object in attacking the Government and the desire to 
overthrow the scheme. 

“ It has been urged in this House, and I say it has been 
proved, that the present scheme laid before the House for its 
approval is a more favourable scheme than that proposed in 

326 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

1872. Whatever may be the merits of other offers or tenders, 
whatever may be the merits of the last offer that has just been 
laid on the table, I believe there is no man of candour and 
common sense, who understands figures but will see that the 
proposition which the Government on its responsibility 
entered into with the Syndicate in 1880, was more favourable 
to the country than the arrangement made with Sir Hugh 
Allan in 1872. And I would ask this House and this country if 
Canada would not have been a great gainer, if we had accepted 
and carried out that proposition of Sir Hugh Allan in 1872. 
Nine precious years have been lost since that time which can 
never be recovered, during the whole of which the road would 
have been in successful process of construction. The men 
engaged in that scheme, if they could have got the ear of the 
European capitalists, were strong enough to push that road 
across the country, and at the end of those nine years, instead 
of there being scarcely the footprint of a white man outside 
the Province of Manitoba, we would have had hundreds 
of thousands of people, who have gone from mere despair to 
the United States, crowding into our own North-West Terri- 
tories ; that country, instead of having but a small settlement 
in the eastern end of it, would have been the happy home of 
hundreds of thousands — to use the smallest figure — of civil- 
ized men, of earnest, active labouring men, working for them- 
selves and their families, and making that country, much 
sooner than it will be now, a populous and a prosperous 

“ But there is little use in regrets like these. We on this 
side of the House are not responsible for this delay, and we 
appeal confidently to the country and confidently to posterity; 
we appeal confidently to every candid man to say if this 
Dominion of ours, of which we are so proud, about the future 
of which we are so anxious, and yet so certain, would not have 
been infinitely greater in our time, in the time of the oldest of us, 
if the future of that country would not have been opened out 
as a great branch of the Dominion, if the contract of 1872 had 
been carried out. Still, sir, it was not to be. Our efforts 
failed, and we fell in those efforts. We were succeeded by a 

Construction by Company Popular. 


Government strong in numbers, strong in ability, and at the 
head of it a practical man. The fact of his being a practical 
man was a matter of boast, and of just boast, among those 
who gather around him. He had directed his best energies to 
the object ; he had at his back a body so strong that no oppo- 
sition could effectively thwart him, oppose him or even 
obstruct him, and that honourable gentleman states himself 
that he was not obstructed, that he was not opposed, that he 
was not in any way impeded by the Opposition of the day, 
and he, sir, took up the same line of policy in essence that we 
initiated in 1872. And he, sir, served honestly and faithfully, 
I believe, to relieve his Government and relieve himself and 
his party from the responsibilities of his position, and of the 
pledges which were made, and which he and those who served 
under him were under obligations which could not, without 
dishonour, be broken, which could not be delayed, which 
could not, without disgrace and discredit be postponed. 

“ It was admitted that there was a sacred obligation ; it 
was admitted that there was a treaty made with British 
Columbia, with the people and the Government of British 
Columbia, and not only was it an agreement, a solemn bargain 
made between Canada and British Columbia, but it was form- 
ally sanctioned by Her Majesty’s Government It was a 
matter of Colonial policy and Imperial policy that that road 
should be constructed, and the late Government leader, my 
honourable friend from Lambton, who is absent from his place 
to-day, and who, I fear, is absent from the same cause which 
compelled my absence on Friday night, and I regret his 
absence very sincerely, — I say my honourable friend felt him- 
self bound to that policy. Both the Government, of which I 
was the head, and the Government, of which he was the head, 
were bound by the original resolutions that were passed at the 
time that British Columbia came in, were bound to the policy 
that this road should be built with the aid of money and land, 
and built by an incorporated company if possible, and some 
went so far as to say, built in no other way. He was hampered 
by that obligation, but it hampered both Governments. The 
delegates from British Columbia came in when the motion was 

328 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

carried ; they assented to it at the time; it became in fact the 
law of the land, and when they went home there was not a 
word of reproach from the delegates of British Columbia. All 
they wanted was that the spirit of the resolution should 
be carried out so far as men could carry on honestly and 
fairly, and straight-forwardly, a solemn compact, an obligatory 
pledge, a treaty not to be broken without dishonour. 

“ Both Governments felt themselves bound to make every 
exertion to build the railway by means of the intervention of 
a body of captialists incorporated for that purpose. As we 
had tried, so did the succeeding Government, and they 
advertised in a manner which has been stated and explained, 
and I need not go through the details again. Advertisements 
were issued by the honourable member for Lambton, then 
head of the Government, telling capitalists all over the world 
to come forward and tender for the work, but tenders would 
not come in. Whether it was that Canada had not the credit 
it now has ; whether it was that the Government of the day 
had not the credit that the present Government of Canada 
has ; whether it was that the circumstances of the money 
market were unpropitious at the time ; whether it was that 
the country in* the North-West was not so well known then as 
now, I cannot say. Perhaps all those causes were conjoined 
to prevent success, but, at all events, the call upon the 
capitalists of the world by the late Government did not 

“ The Government, I say, had every right to use all their 
exertions in order to relieve themselves and the country of the 
obligation of building this road and the still greater obligation 
of running it. Let any one consider for a moment what these 
obligations are, and how they press upon the Government. 
We see this in the Intercolonial and in every public work. 
Why, sir, it is actually impossible, although my honourable 
friend has overcome many obstacles with regard to the Inter- 
colonial Railway, for the Government to run that railroad 
satisfactorily. It is made a political cause of complaint in 
every way ; the men that are put on the railroad from the 

The Mission to England. 


porter upwards become civil servants. If one of these men 
are put on from any cause whatever, he is said to be a political 
hack ; if he is removed, it is said his removal was on account 
of his political opinions ; if a cow is killed on the road, a 
motion is made in respect to it by the member of the House 
who has the owners vote and support. The responsibility, the 
expense, the worry and the annoyance of a Government 
having charge of such a work are such that, for these causes 
alone, it was considered advisable to get out of the responsi- 
bility. We have had enough evidence of that in this House, 

“ Well, sir, we went to England, and, though in England, 
we occasionally saw what was going on. The Opposition 
— oh, how frightened they were lest we should succeed, and 
cablegram after cablegram came to Canada, informing the 
country, with an expression of regret, that we had miserably 
and wretchedly failed ; then they said it was an evidence of 
want of confidence of the people of England in the present 
Administration. How could any body of capitalists put any 
confidence or trust in a Government stamped with the Pacific 
Railway scandal ? It was said that if it had been another 
Government, having greater confidence and greater purity of 
character, and greater ability, the result would be different. 
There were tears (crocodile tears, perhaps) dropped upon the 
unhappy fate of Canada in having such an incompetent and 
criminal Government that could, within nine years from the 
original transaction, carry out a beneficial arrangement by 
which it was proposed to endeavour to get English capitalists 
to take their place and build that road. 

“ However, sir, we did, and in the speech at Hochelaga 
that I hear so much about, a speech that can hardly be digni- 
fied by the name of speech, I announced the fact that we had 
made the contract. I say so now — we made the contract firm. 

“ The pledges made to British Columbia and the pledges 
made in reference to the future of this Dominion will be 
carried out under the auspices of a Conservative Government 
and with the support of a Conservative majority. (Applause). 
That road will be constructed, and notwithstanding all the 
wiles of the Opposition and the flimsy arrangement which has 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

been concocted, the road is going to be built, and will be 
proceeded with vigorously, continuously, systematically, and 
successfully to completion. And the fate of Canada will then, 
as a Dominion, be sealed. Then will the fate of Canada, as 
one great body, be fixed beyond the possibility of honourable 
gentlemen to unsettle. The emigrant from Europe will find 
here a happy and comfortable home in the great west, secured 
by the exertion of the Conservative party. (Applause). 
But then, sir, comes the interjection after the arrangements 
have been made, and the Government had made a contract, 
that honourable gentlemen opposite three or four years ago 
would have leaped at and bragged and boasted of as a won- 
derful proof of their superior administrative ability ; we now 
have the assertion that the contract was made without due 

“We have had tragedy, comedy and farce from the other 
side. (Laughter and applause). Sir, it commenced with 
tragedy (hear, hear) ; the contract was declared oppressive ; 
the amount of money to be given was enormous ; we were 
giving away the whole lands of the North-West ; not an acre 
was to be left for the free and independent foot of the free and 
independent settler ; there was to be a monopoly handed over 
to this company ; we had painted the tyranny of this company 
that was to override the people by raising a high tariff, and 
the tyranny of a great monopoly who was to keep in their 
control a large area of lands, out of which they expect to 
build this railway, for some hundreds of years, in order that, 
through the exertions of others, the value of their acreage 
might be increased. This was the tragedy (hear, hear), and 
the honourable gentlemen opposite played it so well that 
if they did not affect the whole audience, we could see tears of 
pity trickling down the cheeks of gentlemen sitting on that 
side of the House. (Laughter). Then, sir, we had the 
comedy. The comedy was that when every one of the 
speeches of these honourable gentlemen was read to them, it 
was proved last year, or the year before, or in previous years, 
they had thought one way, and that now they spoke in another 
way. (Hear, hear). Then it was the most amusing and comic 

The Course of the Opposition. 


thing in the world. Every honourable gentleman got up and 
said, ‘ I am not bound by that (hear, hear) ; it is true that I 
said so two years ago, but circumstances are changed in two 
years or one year, or in eight months in one case, but to what 
I said eight months ago I am not bound now. (Cheers and 
laughter). This was very comic (laughter) ; it amused us all ; 
it amused the House, and the whole country chuckled on 
a broad grin. (Laughter). These honourable gentlemen said 
it was true we were fools eight months ago and two years 
ago, but because we were fools in the past, you have no right, 
being Ministers, to be fools too ; you have no right to advo- 
cate the follies we advocated. 

“ The honourable gentlemen opposite have not hidden 
their lights under a bushel ; their words have not been spoken 
in a corner. We know the governing policy of the Opposition, 
enumerated on several occasions, and repeated in this House 
during the present session by the leader of the Opposition 
(Mr. Blake) ; we know he is opposed to the building of the 
road through British Columbia ; that he has, from the time 
the subject was brought before Parliament, protested against 
it, using such language to that province as ‘ Erring sister, 
depart in peace we know he has ridiculed the idea of forc- 
ing a railroad through an inhospitable region of mountains, 
that would get no traffic, but, built at enormous expense, 
would be no real value. The honourable gentleman has 
adhered to that policy. Last session he moved that the 
further construction of the road through British Columbia, in 
allusion to the contract given out by the present Government 
under advertisements published by the late Government, and 
for the purpose of carrying out its policy, be postponed, as 
also all action with that object, and I expressed my regret at 
the unavoidable absence of my honourable friend from Lamb- 
ton on this occasion, but greatly as I regret that, I still more 
greatly regretted his humiliation at the time last session when 
the honourable gentleman’s motion was in our hands. If I 
were his worst enemy, and wished to triumph over him, I 
would not desire a greater humiliation or tragic fate, or a more 
wretched ending of a statesman than that, at the whip of the 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

man who had deposed him, or the man who had removed 
and supplanted him, he should be obliged to eat his own 
words and vote in favour of postponing the construction of the 
road through British Columbia, that he should have to belie — 
I use not the word in an offensive sense — his own advertise- 
ments and all action of the Government in asking for tenders 
for his building of the road. 

“ What did this advertisement mean and the calling for 
tenders ? Was it a sham, a fraud ? Assuming, like those who 
did not know, that the honourable gentleman went down to 
the depths of degradation to use that argument himself, and 
say that he did not mean anything by that advertisement, but 
really wished to ascertain the probable cost of the work, 
because it was stated in this House that that was the object 
of issuing advertisements, so that contractors were called upon 
to come from not only all parts of the Dominion, but San 
Francisco, the United States and the world, to consider this 
matter, and they had to go over the whole ground with their 
surveyors and engineers, make their surveys and estimates at 
the greatest trouble and expense, in order to ascertain the 
character of this work, and that the Canadian Government 
might be able to say to them afterward, ‘ Gentlemen, we are 
very much obliged to you for the information you have given 
us, gathered at your expense and not at that of the public.’ 
Not one of the gentlemen of the late Government could have 
done that, I am sure, or have said that the advertisement was 
not bona fide , was not for the purpose of giving out work, 
otherwise it was a mockery, a delusion and a snare, an injury 
to every man put to expense in connection with it and to all 
the professional men and capitalists of the world. 

“ The policy of the leader of the Opposition, as avowed 
and expressed, his policy as a Minister would be to stop all 
work in British Columbia ; not a mile would be built, not a 
train would ever run through British Columbia if he could 
help it ; not a particle of trade or commerce would pass over 
a line through that province to the east if he had his will, and 
that province would be compelled to appeal to the paramount 
power, to the justice of the British Government and Parlia- 

The Course of the Opposition. 


merit, where justice is always rendered, to relieve her from 
connection with a people so devoid of honour, so devoid of 
character, so unworthy of a place among the nations, and Her 
Majesty’s Government would see that justice was done to that 
long suffering people. That was the policy of the leader of 
the Opposition with regard to the west. Now, his policy with 
regard to the east was hostile to the construction of the road 
north of Lake Superior. He avows his predilection for the 
Sault Ste. Marie line, to draw off trade into the United States, 
to strengthen, to renew, to extend and develop our commerce 
with the United States, to the utter destruction of the great 
plain basis and policy of the Dominion, which is to connect 
the great countries composing the Dominion from sea to 
sea, by one vast iron chain, which cannot, and will never be 

“ That was the policy of the honourable gentleman, and 
it was supported and would be supported by the whole party. 
It was supported by their organ also. I do not often read it, 
for I do not think it very wholesome reading, but I am told it 
goes in strongly for the Sault Ste. Marie road, yet we all 
remember, for I have heard it read many a time, the manner 
in which that organ in days of old denounced the building of 
the Sault road as hazardous to the best interests of Canada, 
and destructive to the future of the Dominion, as calculated to 
unite us, willy-nilly, with the States by a commercial connec- 
tion which must be followed by a political connection a little 
later, and I am told that organ strongly supports the honour- 
able leader of the Opposition, just as strongly as some years 
ago it vigorously and in a loyal British sense opposed him. 
The same men do not govern that paper now, and if the chief 
man who conducted that paper was now living, I do not 
believe he would so belie his whole life and all his interests as 
to surrender a great connecting principle which, whatever 
might be the subjects of contention across the floor, kept him 
always united with the party of which I am an humble 
member, always united in defending British interests, in 
defending monarchical institutions, and in trying, as far as 
possible, to keep us a people free and independent of all exter- 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

nal relations with any country in the world except our grand 
old mother country, England. 

“ Yes, I am proud to say that if our scheme is carried out, 
the steamer landing at Halifax will discharge its freight and 
emigrants upon a British railway, which will go through 
Quebec and through Ontario to the far west on British 
territory, under the British flag, under Canadian laws, and 
without any chance of either the immigrant being deluded or 
seduced away from his allegiance or his proposed residence in 
Canada, or the traffic coming from England or from Asia 
being subjected to the possible prohibition or offensive 
restrictive taxation or customs regulations of a foreign 

“ I believe that the men who signed the contract are men 
of honour and great wealth, who cannot afford to lose their 
character, prestige and credit in the markets of the world by 
breaking a contract, but we felt we had no right to take their 
word for it, and therefore stipulated in the contract that the 
company should commence from the beginning of the Cana- 
dian Pacific line, possibly at Callendar station, and proceed 
vigorously and in such a manner that the annual progress shall 
secure completion at the end of ten years. You must remem- 
ber that this is one contract and not a separate contract to 
build the eastern or the central section ; it is a contract to 
build both, and if the company fail in performing their con- 
tract, in carrying out their obligations as to the Lake Superior 
road, they have no right to claim a subsidy in land or money 
because of having done so much work on the prairie. If they 
fail on one section, although they may have built twice the 
number of miles that they promised across the prairies, may 
have finished them to our thorough satisfaction, when they 
come to demand tlie land and the money, if they have not 
worked vigorously and continuously on the Lake Superior sec- 
tion, achieving a rate of annual progress, assuring us that it will 
be finished within the proper time, then we shall say, ‘ No you 
don’t ; you shall not have this money ; no, you have built the 
prairie section, but you have left other parts of the roads which 
must go on pari passu , and we will not give you a dollar or an 

The Road to be a Canadian Road. 


acre, because, though you have done the full amount on the 
prairies, you have been a failure, to a great extent, elsewhere/ 

“We desire, the country desires that the road, when built, 
should be a Canadian road, the main channel for Canadian 
traffic, for the carriage of the treasure and traffic of the west 
to the seaboard through Canada. So far as we can we shall 
not allow it to be built for the benefit of the United States, 
and our North-West drained by the United States lines. 
Then, again starting from the foot of the Rocky Mountains, 
perhaps one of the most fertile, if not the most fertile, section 
lies directly at the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains. 
The freight from British Columbia for the east we desire to 
keep on our own railroad as long as we legitimately can. 
We believe it will carry freight as cheaply and satisfy the 
wants of the country as fairly as any American railway. But, 
sir, we desire to have the trade kept on our own side, that not 
one of the trains that passes over the Canadian Pacific Rail- 
way will run into the United States if we can help it, but may 
instead pass through our own country, that we may build up 
Montreal, Quebec, Toronto, Halifax and St. John by means of 
a great Canadian line, carrying as much traffic as possible by 
the course of trade through our own country. 

“ I do not mean to say we can prevent cheaper channels 
being opened. There is no way to prevent other railroads 
running across the continent through our own country. Our 
Dominion is as big as all Europe, and we might as well say 
that the railways running from Paris to Moscow might supply 
the wants of all Europe as that this railway might supply the 
wants of the whole North-West. There will be room for as 
many railways in that country by-and-bye as there are in 
Europe, and if there should be any attempt — and the attempt 
would be futile — on the part of the Canadian Pacific Railway 
to impose excessive prices and rates, it would be folly, and would 
soon be exposed by the construction of rival lines east and west, 
which would open up our country in all directions, and prove 
amply sufficient to prevent the possibility of a monopoly, 
which has been made such a bugbear of by honourable gentle- 
men opposite. I was going to say that a train starting from 

336 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

the foot of the Rocky Mountains might obtain connections by 
a line running through in a south-easterly direction with roads 
in the United States. I was going to say that a train starting 
from the foot of the Rocky Mountains might be bled by a 
line from any southerly direction connected with the United 
States, and so much traffic would be carried off to the United 
States, and a few miles farther another line might connect 
with another American line, and so on, sir, until long before 
we got to Winnipeg or the Red River, the main portion of the 
trade would be carried off from our line into American 
channels. That magnificent river, the Rhine, starting with 
pride from its source, runs through the finest portions of 
Europe, and yet has a miserable, wretched end, being lost in 
the sands as it approaches the sea ; and such would be the 
fate of the Canada Pacific Railway if we allowed it to be bled 
by subsidiary lines, feeding foreign railways, adding to foreign 
wealth, and increasing foreign revenue by carrying off our 
trade, until before we arrived at the terminal points in Ontario 
and at Montreal, it would be so depleted that it would almost 
die of inanition. 

Mr. Blake — (Hear, hear). 

Sir John Macdonald — “ No men in their senses would 
undertake to build the 450 miles through that stern country to 
the north of Lake Superior, and run it for ten long years, 
unless they knew that there was some check placed upon these 
lines. Not a pound of freight would go from our North-West; 
it would almost all go to the United States. (Hear, hear). 
Some of it would come to us, but the great portion of the 
trade would go through the United States by the favoured 
line of honourable gentlemen opposite, without any hope 
of getting it back to Canada at the Sault Ste. Marie. (Hear, 
hear). Sir, we know what a great amount, what an enormous 
amount of capital American capitalists possess who are con- 
nected with the railways of the United States. We have seen 
evidences of the mad rivalry which has existed occasionally 
between some great railway lines of that country. You have 
seen them run railways at ruinous rates in the hopes of break- 
ing each other down. Sir, with our road backed by a country 

The Danger from Competing Roads. 


of scarcely four millions, with our infant country and with our 
infant capitalists, what chance would they have against the 
whole of the United States capitalists? What chance would 
they have ? The Americans would offer to carry freight for 
nothing and pay shippers for sending freight that way. It 
would not all come by the Sault Ste. Marie. It would come 
to Duluth. It would come to Chicago. It would come 
through a hundred different channels. It would percolate 
through the United States to New York and Boston, and to 
the other ports, and, sir, after our railway was proved to be 
useless, they might perhaps come into the market and buy up 
our line as they have bought up other lines. (Hear, hear). 

“ Railway and telegraph lines are under no protection from 
foreign capitalists coming in and buying them up, and getting 
control of our markets, and cutting us off from the trade 
which should come from the great west and by Canadian 
railways to the River St. Lawrence. (Hear, hear). They 
could afford for a series of years, with their enormous 
wealth, with their enormous capital, exceeding the revenue 
of many first-class Governments in Europe, to put their rates 
for freight down to such a figure as would ruin our road, 
as would ruin the contractors, as would ruin the company 
and render it utterly impossible for them to continue in 
competition. And, sir, what can be more wretched or more 
miserable in any country than an insolvent railway. (Hear, 
hear). What could be more wretched and miserable, and 
destructive to the future of a country than the offering on the 
market of the stock of an insolvent railway. (Hear, hear). 
They cannot supply or renew the rails ; they cannot main- 
tain the road-bed in repair ; they cannot keep the line 
supplied with railway stock. Sir, the road would become 
shrunken, shrunken, shrunken until it fell an easy prey to this 
ring. (Hear, hear.) We cannot afford to run such a risk. 
(Cheers). * We saw what a wheat ring did in Chicago. They 
raised the price of the necessaries of life. The ring in Chicago 
raised the price of the poor man’s loaf for a whole year in order 
to make a profit at the expense of the labouring poor of 
Europe and of all the rest of the world ; and a similar com- 



338 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

bination, but infinitely richer, with infinitely more capital, and 
infinitely more unscrupulous — and no men are so unscrupu- 
lous, and so reckless as the railway speculators and proprietors 
in the United States — would be formed in this case. 

“It was essentially as a matter of precaution and a matter 
of necessity, and a matter of self-defence, that we provided 
that this road should not be depleted of this traffic in the 
manner in which I have mentioned (cheers), and that the road 
should be allowed fair play for twenty years from now, and 
only ten years after construction (hear, hear, and cheers), and 
that it should be protected from the chance of being robbed of 
all the profits, robbed of all the gain, the legitimate gain 
which the company expects to get from this enterprise and 
the employment of their capital. (Cheers). This was done 
only to protect them for the first ten years of their infant 
traffic. (Applause). We know perfectly well it will take 
many years before that country is filled up with a large 
population, and that the first ten years will be most unprofit- 
able. We know perfectly well that it will require all the 
exertion, and all the skill, and all the management of the 
company to make the eastern and western sections of this 
road fully compensate them, and fully compensate them for 
their responsibility and for their expenditure during these ten 
years. In order to give them a chance we have provided that 
the Dominion Parliament — mind you the Dominion Parlia- 
ment, we cannot check any other Parliament ; we cannot 
check Ontario ; we cannot check Manitoba — shall, for the first 
ten years after the construction of the road, give their own 
road, into which they are putting so much money and so much 
land, a fair chance of existence. 

“ I know we can appeal to our countrymen. I know we 
can appeal to the patriotism of the people of Canada. We 
can tell them that we want a line that will connect Halifax 
with the Pacific ocean. We can tell them, even from the 
mouths of our enemies, that out of our lands we can pay off 
every single farthing, every cent taken out of the pockets of 
the people twenty fold, and we will have a great Pacific 

The Danger from Competing Roads. 


railway. This is what we will have. . . Mr. Speaker, the 

whole thing is an attempt to destroy the Pacific railway. . ” 

The Government policy was supported by the House, the 
Act passed its third reading on February 14th, and received 
the Royal assent the following day. 

Of the men who undertook the contract to build the Can- 
adian Pacific Railway, those with whom we are most familiar 
are Lord Mount-Stephen, Mr. R. B. Angus, Mr. Duncan 
McIntyre and Sir Donald Smith. 

Of these, Lord Mount-Stephen is a fellow-townsman of 
Thomas Carlyle, being a native of Dufftown, Banffshire, Scot- 
land. He early displayed the ability and enterprise which 
have always characterized him as a man, and, dissatisfied with 
the narrow sphere afforded him in his native place, he went to 
London, where he entered the service of the great mercantile 
house of J. F. Pawson & Co., St. Paul* Churchyard. He 
came to Canada in the spring of 1850, at the instance of his 
cousin, the late Mr. William Stephen, senior member of the 
firm of W. Stephen & Co., St. Helen Street, Montreal, the 
predecessors of the present firm of Robertson, Linton & Co. 

On the death of the head of the firm, in 1862, he purchased 
the latter’s interest from his heirs, and after obtaining control 
of the business, entered extensively into the manufacture of 
Canadian tweeds and other stuffs. In this venture he suc- 
ceeded so well that he soon withdrew from the wholesale 
business and devoted his attention exclusively to manufactur- 
ing. He became one of the directors of the Bank of Mon- 
treal, and when the late David Torrance died, he became 
President of the bank. 

His railway operations have made his name familiar to 
Canadians. He formed one of a syndicate to purchase the 
interest of the Dutch bond-holders in the St. Paul and Pacific 
Railway, which was then projected to St. Vincent and partially 
constructed. Foreseeing the surpassing importance of this 
line, when connection should be established with the Canadian 
North-West by means of the Pembina branch of the Canadian 
Pacific, Mr. Stephen and his associates resolved to obtain 
possession of it, and were fortunate in being able to do so by 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

purchasing at a heavy discount the bonds of the road. They 
at once pushed on the work of construction, and were soon in 
a position to enjoy an absolute monopoly of railway traffic, 
not only in the North-West of Canada, but also into a large 
area of Minnesota and Dakota. Their success enabled them 
to go on constructing their projected lines in various directions 
through the above-named States, so that they soon had a 
regular net- work of roads collecting the traffic of the North- 
West and pouring it into St. Paul. With an eye to the fitness 
of things they named their line the St. Paul and Manitoba 
Railway, for, until the completion of the C. P. R., it was the 
only winter outlet for the traffic of the Canadian North-West. 

Lord Mount-Stephen is one of the most popular and kind- 
hearted men in the Dominion, and has given away immense 
sums of money to charitable and other deserving objects. In 

1885 he joined his cousin, Sir Donald A. Smith, in founding 
in the Royal College of Music, London, the “ Montreal Schol- 
arship,” tenable for three years, and open to the residents of 
Montreal and its neighbourhood. 

Two years later the same gentlemen contributed the mag- 
nificent sum of $1,000,000 ($500,000 each), to build, at Mon- 
treal, a new hospital to be called the Victoria Hospital. In 

1886 Her Majesty, the Queen, created him a baronet, in recog- 
nition of his great services in connection with the Canadian 
Pacific Railway, and in 1891 he was raised to the peerage, 
under the title of Lord Mount-Stephen. His adopted 
daughter was married to the son of Sir Stafford Northcote 
during the sittings of the Joint High Commission, which nego- 
tiated the Treaty of Washington, and, of which young Mr. 
Northcote was an attache. 

Sir Donald A. Smith was born and educated in Moray- 
shire, Scotland. At an early age he went into the employ- 
ment of the Hudson’s Bay Company and remained there for 
many years, rising through all the grades of the service, until 
in 1888, he was elected governor of the corporation. He mar- 
ried Isabella, daughter of the late Richard Hardisty, one of the 
officers of the Company, and who had formerly been in the Brit- 
ish Army. When the North-West Territories were purchased 

Canadian Members of Syndicate. 


by the Canadian Government, they appointed the Honourable 
William McDougall as the first Lieutenant-Governor, but, on 
arriving at the boundary line, he was prevented by an armed 
force from proceeding farther, and was obliged to return 
to Ottawa. Sir Donald Smith was appointed a Special Com- 
missioner to enquire into the causes of this obstruction, on 
account of his intimate knowledge of the country and the 
confidence reposed in him by the inhabitants as the result of 
his many years of intimate connection with them. In 1870 
he was appointed a member of the Executive Council of the 
North-West Territories. He represented Winnipeg and St. 
John in the Manitoba Assembly, from the first meeting of 
that body in 1871 until January, 1874. When Manitoba was 
admitted to the Union in 1871, Sir Donald Smith was returned 
to the House of Commons as member for Selkirk. He was 
re-elected in 1872, 1874 and 1878, but the latter election was 
voided. In 1887 he was elected for Montreal West, and again 
in 1891. He is President of the Bank of Montreal and a 
Director of the Canadian Pacific Railway. For services in 
connection with this great national undertaking he was created 
a K.C.M.G. Sir Donald is one of the most liberal of our 
public men, and by a wise beneficence has done a world of 
good with his wealth. In his more munificent gifts he has 
been associated with his cousin Lord Mount-Stephen. 

Mr. Duncan McIntyre was born in the Highlands of Scot- 
land, not far north of Aberdeen. He came to Canada in 1849, 
and was a clerk for many years with Stewart & McIntyre, a 
well-known mercantile firm of Montreal. While in their 
employ he travelled a good deal in the Ottawa Valley, and 
thus became deeply impressed with its great natural advan- 
tages. He purchased a farm at Renfrew, on which some 
members of his family resided, and during leisure intervals 
Mr. McIntyre was wont, in company with business friends, to 
indulge in hunting excursions in various parts of the Ottawa 
district. In this way he acquired a minute knowledge of the 
topography of the country traversed by the Canada Central 
Railway, a work in which Mr. McIntyre learned to take a 
deep interest, and in the future of which he believed. Mr. 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

McIntyre, retired from mercantile business, after a very 
successful career of some eighteen years. The principals of 
the house with which he was connected, Messrs. Stuart 
& McIntyre, had retired some time previously, each with- 
drawing a considerable sum as his share, and leaving Mr. 
Duncan McIntyre to emulate their success. In the course of 
his trips up the Ottawa Valley he made the acquaintance of 
Mr. Foster, who was then President of the Canada Central, and 
soon became one of the directors. When Mr. Foster 
secured the contract for the construction of the Canada Cen- 
tral Extension, Mr. McIntyre took an interest in it along with 
him, and as the result of a succession of transactions and 
changes he came to the head of the road, and by repute, its 
virtual owner. 

Mr. Robert B. Angus was born at Bathgate, near Edin- 
burgh, Scotland, and was one of four exceedingly clever 
brothers ; with them he received his education in the Edin- 
burgh schools, and seems to have made excellent use of his 
training. He left his native land when quite a lad, and was 
for a time employed in one of the Manchester banks. He 
came to this country in 1852 and entered the British Bank, 
where he remained a comparatively short time, accepting the 
post of a junior clerk in the Bank of Montreal. He continued 
to rise in the estimation of his employers, and was afterwards 
sent to Chicago to administer the affairs of the branch in that 
city. Mr. King, shortly after his accession to the position of 
General Manager, secured for Mr. Angus the post of Assist- 
ant-Manager, and when Mr. King became President, Mr. 
Angus was appointed General Manager in his place, a position 
he held until he went into the St. Paul and Manitoba Railway 
business. Mr. Angus, though a strict and keen man of business, 
is possessed of fine social qualities and has made himself very 
popular with all classes. As manager of a large monetary 
institution it was his duty to look strictly after its funds, and 
no man could do this better, but as a private citizen he was 
always very liberal. 

Mr. William Cornelius Van Horne, the President of 
the Canadian Pacific Railway was born in Will County, 

The President of the C. P. R. 


Illinois, February 3, 1843, and is of Dutch descent, spring- 
ing from the old Knickerbocker stock. He commenced his 
railway career in 1856 as a telegraph operator in the office 
of the Illinois Central Railroad at Chicago, and afterwards, 
until 1864, -served in various capacities on the Michigan 
Central railroad. From 1864 to 1872 he was connected with 
the Chicago and Alton Railway, filling successively the 
positions of train despatcher, superintendent of telegraphs, 
and divisional superintendent. In 1872 he became General 
Superintendent of the St. Louis, Kansas City and Northern 
Railway, and, in 1874, General Manager of the Southern 
Minnesota Railway, and in 1877 President of the Company. 
In October, 1878, he returned to the Chicago and Alton Rail- 
way as General Superintendent, but continued, until 1879, to 
hold the office of President of the Southern Minnesota Rail- 
way. In January, 1880, he became General Superintendent of 
the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway, resigning this 
office at the end of 1881, to become General Manager of the 
Canadian Pacific Railway, the construction of which, by the 
company, had recently been commenced. In 1884 he became 
Vice-President of the company, and in 1888, on the retirement 
of Sir George Stephen (now Lord Mount-Stephen) he was 
elected President, in which office he has since continued. 

The phenomenal rate at which the road was constructed is 
largely due to his skill, indomitable perseverance and pluck. 
The Bill which gave effect to the contract received the royal 
assent, February 15, 1881, and ten years were given for the 
construction, but such was the energy wdth which the work 
was pushed forward that the last spike was driven by Sir 
Donald Smith at Eagle Pass on November 7, 1885, a record 
in railroad building which has never been equalled or even 
approached in any part of the world. 

As an instance of the vigour shown in the construction of 
this great undertaking we may mention that in the year 1883 
the extraordinary number of 918 miles was built, the average 
quantity of track laid in crossing the prairies being three and 
a-half miles per day, and, on two days, the astounding 
distance of over six miles per day was laid, the track being 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

made from one end only, and being fully tied and spiked, the 
rails being laid continuously, and in no case drawn ahead by 
teams. The next two years the construction was proceeded with, 
with the same untiring energy, and the whole road was fully 
ballasted and ready for passenger traffic early in 1886. On 
June 28th of that year the first through train left Montreal for 
Vancouver, and on July 9th Sir John Macdonald realized the 
dream of his ambition by starting on a journey to the Pacific 
coast on the completed Canadian Pacific Railway. 

Since its opening the line has been operated with so much 
ability, carefulness and attention to the wants of its patrons, 
that it has completely won the confidence of the travelling 
and commercial community. 

But the energies of the company were not confined to the 
mere fulfilment of its contract with the Government. Much 
more was done in order that the railway might fully serve its 
purpose as a commercial enterprise. Independent connections 
with the Atlantic sea-board were secured by the purchase of 
lines leading eastward to Montreal and Quebec ; branch lines 
to the chief centres of trade in eastern Canada were provided 
by purchase and construction, to collect and distribute the 
traffic of the main line ; and other branch lines were built in 
the North-West for the development of the great prairies. 

The close of 1885 found the company, not yet five years 
old, in possession of no less than 4,315 miles of railway 
including the longest continuous line in the world, extending 
from Quebec and Montreal all the way across the continent to 
the Pacific Ocean, a distance of 3,050 miles ; and by the 
midsummer of 1886 all this vast system was fully equipped 
and fairly working throughout. Villages and towns, and even 
cities followed close upon the heels of the line-builders ; the 
forests were cleared away, the prairie’s soil was turned over, 
mines were opened, and even before the last rail was in place 
the completed sections were carrying a large and profitable 
traffic. The touch of this young giant of the north was felt 
upon the world’s commerce almost before its existence was 
known ; and, not content with the trade of the golden shores 
of the Pacific from California to Alaska, its arms at once 


The President of the C. P. R. 


reached out across that broad ocean and grasped the teas and 
silks of China and Japan to exchange them for the fabrics of 
Europe and North America. 

The next three years were marked by an enormous 
development of traffic and by the addition of 800 more miles 
of railway to the company’s system. One line was extended 
eastward from Montreal across the State of Maine to a connec- 
tion with the railway system of the Maritime Provinces of 
Canada, affording connections with the seaports of Halifax 
and St. John ; another was completed from Sudbury, on the 
company’s main line, to Sault Ste. Marie, at the outlet of Lake 
Superior, where a long steel bridge carries the railway across 
to a connection with the two important American lines leading 
westward — one to St. Paul and Minneapolis and thence 
continuing across Dakota, the other through the numberless 
iron mines of the Marquette and Gogebic districts to Duluth, 
at the western extremity of Lake Superior ; still another, the 
latest built, continues the company’s lines westward from 
Toronto to Detroit, connecting there with lines to Chicago, St. 
Louis, and all of the great Mississippi Valley. And now, the 
company’s lines spread out towards the west like the fingers 
of a gigantic hand, and the question “ Will it pay ? ” -is 
answered with earnings for the past year of sixteen and a-half 
million dollars, and profits of six and a-quarter millions. 

Canada’s iron girdle has given a magnetic impulse to her 
fields, her mines, and her manufactories, and the modest 
colony of yesterday is to-day an energetic nation with great 
plans and hopes and aspirations. 


Dissolution of Parliament, 1882 — Results of general election — Sir John Macdon- 
ald’s trip to England, October, 1884 — The guest of the Prince of Wales at 
Sandringham — Dinner in his honour at the Beaconsfield Club — Visit to 
Windsor Castle — Created a G.C.B. — Invested by the Queen herself with 
the riband and star of the Order — Dinner at the Empire Club — Monster 
Conservative Convention, December 9th — Addresses to Sir John — Grand 
banquet in the Horticultural Gardens — Demonstrations in Montreal — The 
Marquis of Lansdowne as Governor-General — Farewell banquet at the 
Russell House — His remarks on the Fisheries Question, Commercial Union 
and Imperial Federation — Tributes from Sir John Macdonald and others — 
Arrival of Lord Stanley — The death of John Henry Pope— Services of Sir 
Charles Tupper. 

P ARLIAMENT was dissolved on May 18, 1882, and writs 
issued for a new election, returnable August 7th. The 
result proved that the policy pursued by the Government met 
the approval of the country, for they were again returned to 
power with a large body of supporters. The losses on the 
Opposition side were very heavy, some of their best men being 
defeated. The most prominent of these were Sir Richard 
Cartwright, Sir A. T. Smith, and Messrs. Huntingdon, Mills, 
Anglin, D. A. Macdonald, A. G. Jones, R. Laflamme and D. 

On October 8, 1884, Sir John Macdonald sailed for Eng- 
land. He had not been well for some time and desired to 
avail himself of the skill of Sir Andrew Clarke, under whose 
care he had been on previous occasions. During his visit he 
received a great deal of attention and many honours. From 
November 22nd to 24th he was the guest of the Prince of 
Wales at Sandringham. On the latter date he was entertained 
at dinner by the Beaconsfield Club, the chair being taken by 
Sir Stafford Northcote. In the course of his speech the latter 
made the following appreciative remarks : “If the progress of 
Canada had been as great as it undoubtedly had been during 
the last forty years, if Canada now held so high a position in 
the estimation of the world, if the difficulties which from time 
to time had arisen in the development and organization of the 
great Canadian community had been so successfully overcome, 
there was one man to whom, above all others, that great pro- 
gress was owing, and that man was Sir John Macdonald.’’ 


Receives the Grand Cross of the Bath. 349 

On the following day Sir John went to Windsor Castle 
accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Gladstone, the Earl of Derby 
and Sir John McNeil, and had the distinguished honour of 
dining with the Queen and the Royal Family. Afterwards 
Her Majesty conferred upon him the Grand Cross of the Bath 
and herself invested him with the riband and star of the Order. 
He remained at Windsor Castle that night as the guest of the 
Queen, and on the following day returned to London, where 
he was entertained at a dinner given in his honour at the Empire 
Club. The chair was taken by the Marquis of Lome, and 
amongst the distinguished men present were the Marquis of 
Salisbury, the Duke of Sutherland, the Earl of Kimberley, 
Secretary of State for India ; the Earl of Derby, Secretary 
of State for the Colonies ; the Earl of Carnarvon, ex-Colonial 
Secretary ; the Marquis of Normanby, Viscount Bury, Mr. 
W. H. Smith, Sir Thomas Brassey, Sir Charles Tupper and 
Sir John Rose. 

In proposing the toast of the evening, the Marquis of 
Lome spoke of Sir John Macdonald as “the most successful 
statesman in one of the most successful of the younger nations 
of the world ; as a Minister whose characteristics are breadth 
of views and largeness of heart, and hoped that he might long 
be able to take his part in the public life which, for forty 
years, he had led, illustrated and adorned.” In reply, Sir 
John Macdonald expressed his gratification at having his 
health proposed by Lord Lome, an ex-Governor-General of 
Canada, and one who had not only ruled wisely and well, but 
had endeared himself to the whole population. He accepted 
the compliment paid him not merely as a personal one, but as 
a recognition of the importance of Canada as a part of the 
Empire. The people of Canada, without regard to politics or 
party, would be proud of the demonstration. He then referred 
in eloquent terms to the marvellous change which had taken 
place in the country since he had first entered public life 
in 1844, an d gave a sketch of the history of Canada during 
those forty years. He described the present position and 
prospects of the Dominion, and concluded by expressing 
a warm hope for a closer alliance of all the colonies with the 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

mother country. Lord Salisbury also gave expression to his 
“admiration for the distinguished career and the personal 
character of our honoured guest, and said that he could 
express no warmer wish for Canada than that, in her long 
future, she may have many statesmen who will shed as much 
lustre on her history, and will confer as many benefits on her 
people, as Sir John Macdonald has done.” 

His visit to England, and the honours paid him, attracted 
a great deal of attention, and the newspapers spoke of him 
and his speeches in the highest terms, the London Standard 
pointing out that “in advancing Sir John Macdonald to the 
dignity of a G. C. B., Her Majesty had conferred upon him 
what, according to Lord Beaconsfield, was practically the 
highest meritorious distinction it was in the power of the 
Sovereign to bestow.” 

Sir John returned to Canada on December 9th, and found 
that his friends and admirers had made extensive arrange- 
ments to celebrate in a fitting manner the conclusion of 
his fortieth year of public life. Ten thousand delegates from 
the constituencies of Ontario were appointed to hold a Con- 
vention at Toronto on the 17th and 18th. This Convention 
was held at the Grand Opera House, and the crowd was 
so great that hundreds were unable to obtain admission. An 
address from those present was presented to Sir John, to 
which he made a reply that was received with great enthus- 
iasm. A Liberal-Conservative Association for the province 
was then formed, of which he was unanimously elected Presi- 
dent, and Mr. W. R. Meredith, Vice-President. In the evening 
a magnificent banquet was given in the Pavilion of the Horti- 
cultural Gardens, at which 1,200 persons sat down. The 
speeches were numerous and interesting, and were listened 
to with great attention by a crowd of spectators, largely com- 
posed of ladies, who filled the galleries. 

A similar demonstration took place in Montreal in the 
beginning of the new year — January 12 and 13, 1885. The 
streets through which Sir John passed from the railway 
station were brilliantly illuminated. Thousands of people 
with bands of music joined in the procession, and the respect 

The Marquis of Lansdowne. 


and attachment felt towards him was testified by the vocifer- 
ous cheering which greeted him along the whole route. On 
arrival at the drill hall, many addresses were presented to him, 
and speeches made by the leading men present. The next 
night a banquet was given him in the large dining-room 
of the Windsor Hotel, which was crowded to its utmost 
capacity. The speeches lasted until a late hour, the principal 
theme being the great services which the guest of the evening 
had rendered to his country, coupled with a hope that he 
might long be spared to guide the destinies of Canada. 

Meanwhile the Marquis of Lome had been succeeded 
as Governor-General by the Marquis of Lansdowne, who also 
bears the titles of Earl of Wycombe, Viscount Cain and 
Cainstine, Lord Wycombe, Baron of Chipping-Wycombe, 
Earl of Kerry and Earl of Shelburne, Viscount Clanmaurice 
and Fitzmaurice, Baron of Kerry, Lixnaw, and Dunkerron*, 
He was born January 14, 1845, and succeeded to the title 
in 1866. He received his education at Eton and Balliol 
College, Oxford. In 1869 he married Lady Maud Evelyn 
Hamilton, youngest daughter of the first Duke of Abercorn. 
He was a Commissioner of the Exchequer of Great Britain, 
and of the Treasury of Ireland 1868-72; Under-Secretary of 
State for War 1872-74; and Under-Secretary for India 1880. 
He arrived in Canada on October 23, 1883, after a very stormy 
passage across the ocean. Addresses were presented to him 
to which he replied in a manner that charmed his hearers. 
The French were especially delighted by his replying to them 
in their own language, and remarked upon the purity of 
his accent. On the following day he proceeded to Ottawa. 
As, for many reasons, we are compelled to abstain from 
referring to the very pleasant subject of the acts and doings 
of our Governors since Confederation, we will now only 
add that after a sojourn in Canada of less than five years, 
Lord Lansdowne was called to the higher office of Vice- 
roy of India. The news of his approaching departure was 
received with feelings of the deepest regret, and it was resolved 
to signify the appreciation felt of his efforts to promote the 
good of the country, and to testify to the warm feelings enter- 


The Life of Sir John A. MacdonXld. 

tained towards him and Lady Lansdowne, by a public enter- 
tainment This took place at the Russell House on May 15, 
1888, and we give the proceedings as reported in the Citizen of 
the following morning. His speech on the occasion was 
eloquent, practical and sympathetic, and his remarks respect- 
ing the Pacific railway, the Fisheries’ question, the duties and 
responsibilities of a Governor-General, Commercial Union with 
the United States, and Imperial Federation, are worthy of the 
most attentive perusal : 

“ When it was definitely announced that Lord Stanley of 
Preston had been appointed to succeed Lord Lansdowne as 
Governor-General of Canada, in consequence of the latter 
having been chosen to succeed Lord Dufferin in the Governor- 
Generalship of India, a general desire was expressed that His 
Excellency should not be allowed to depart from Ottawa 
without an opportunity being afforded of demonstrating to 
him the high esteem in which he and the Marchioness of 
Lansdowne are held by the citizens of the Capital of the 
Dominion. A meeting was called by His Worship the 
Mayor for the purpose of considering the best means of 
putting the public wish into practical shape, and it was finally 
decided that a banquet should be tendered His Excellency, 
which would afford him an opportunity of making a speech in 
review of his administration of public affairs in the Dominion 
during the last four and a-half years, and that, on the occasion 
of his departure from the city, the popular sentiment should 
find expression in a demonstrative display. His Excellency 
was pleased to intimate to the Mayor that a banquet would be 
to him the most acceptable tribute of respect, as he was 
desirous that his last public utterances in Canada should be 
spoken in the city where he had spent the greater portion of 
the time he has represented Her Majesty in the Dominion. 

“ The banquet took place at the Russell House and 
proved in every respect an unqualified success. It is safe 
to say that it was the most brilliant and the most representa- 
tive social entertainment ever witnessed in Ottawa. The 
chair was occupied by His Worship, the Mayor, and on his 
right were His Excellency ; Sir Hector Langevin, Minister of 

Banquet to the Marquis of Lansdowne. 353 

Public Works ; Honourable Mackenzie Bowell, Minister of 
Customs ; Honourable W. A. McLelan, Postmaster-General ; 
Honourable John Costigan, Minister of Inland Revenue ; 
Honourable J. A. Chapleau, Secretary of State ; Honourable 
George E. Foster, Minister of Marine and Fisheries ; Honour- 
able G. W. Allan, Speaker of the Senate ; Lieutenant-General 
Sir Fred Middleton, Sir Richard Cartwright, Honourable Mr. 
Justice Fournier, Honourable Wilfred Laurier, Honourable 
Alexander McFarlane, Honourable J. G. Ross, Honourable F. 
Clemow. On the left Right Honourable Sir John Macdonald, 
Premier and President of the Conncil ; Honourable Sir Charles 
Tupper, Minister of Finance ; Honourable Sir Adolphe 
Caron, Minister of Militia ; Honourable Frank Smith ; 
Honourable J. S. D. Thompson, Minister of Justice ; Honour- 
able J. J. C. Abbott ; Honourable Sir William Ritchie, Chief 
Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada ; Honourable William 
Macdougall, Honourable R. W. Scott, Honourable R. B. 
Dickey, Honourable Donald Mclnnes, Honourable Dr. Cas- 
grain, the Honourable Speaker Ouimet, Sir James Grant, and 
the Honourable George A. Kirkpatrick. The vice chairs were 
occupied by Sheriff Sweetland and Mr. Charles Magee. 
Altogether about 240 gentlemen were present. 

In proposing the toast of the evening the Mayor, Mr. 
McLeod Stewart said : “ Gentlemen, — It is permitted to 

me to-night to discharge a most agreeable duty, one of 
the most agreeable of a lifetime, and that is to propose 
the health of our distinguished guest the Governor-General 
of Canada. (Cheers). Lord Lansdowne came to us four 
and a half years ago, with all the prestige of a noble 
lineage, and preceded by the reputation which always per- 
tains to the cultured scholar and the distinguished states- 
man. He has proved himself a most able and constitutional 
representative of Her Majesty in this country. He has made 
for himself a most honourable record, and he now leaves us 
rich in the affections and dear to the hearts of the great mass 
of the Canadian people.” (Cheers). Addressing the Governor- 
General, the Mayor said : “ When Your Excellency reaches the 
shores of England, and you relinquish the great trust which 

VOL II. 21 


The Life gf Sir John A. Macdonald. 

has been confided to you, tell Her Majesty the Queen that the 
little Ottawa which she graciously designated as the seat of 
government has grown into a large and flourishing city. 
(Cheers). Tell her also that the little provinces which she 
joined together in one great confederation have grown into a 
mighty and prosperous Dominion, and tell Her Majesty 
further, that in no portion of her wide Dominions has she 
subjects more true, more loyal, and more patriotic to her 
throne than her own Canadian people. (Loud and repeated 
cheers). Of your estimable wife, Her Excellency Lady Lans- 
downe, I have nothing but the kindest words to say. By her 
rare sweetness of disposition, her charm of manner, and her 
kindness of heart, she has endeared herself to all with whom 
she has come in contact. (Tremendous cheering). The great 
regret we experience at Your Excellency’s departure is also 
felt in a like degree for Her Excellency Lady Lansdowne. 
(Cheers). I am sure I voice the sentiments not only of the 
citizens of Ottawa, but also of the whole Dominion, when I 
say that it is the earnest desire and prayer of all of us that 
Divine Providence may grant to Your Excellency wisdom to 
your head, courage to your heart, and strength to your arm in 
administering the affairs of that great Orient Empire over 
which Her Majesty has called you to preside.” (Loud and 
repeated cheers). 

When His Excellency rose to respond, he was greeted with 
an outburst of wild enthusiasm. Cheer after cheer greeted 
him ; handkerchiefs waved, and several minutes elapsed before 
the Governor-General could speak, so unbounded was the 
popular demonstration. 

His Excellency said : “ Mr. Mayor, Sir John Macdonald 
. and Gentlemen, — You could have paid me no compliment 
greater or more acceptable than that of asking me to meet this 
brilliant company at dinner this evening. It is representative 
of all that is most distinguished and honourable in the society 
of the capital. I see around me the venerable Premier, who 
has for so many years been responsible for the conduct of 
your public affairs. (Cheers). I see his colleagues with whom 
'I ha,ve been in constant official intercourse. I see distin- 

Marquis of Lansdowne’s Farewell Speech. 355 

guished members, of the Privy Council, not of the Cabinet, but 
whose intimate acquaintance I have nevertheless had the 
honour of enjoying. (Renewed applause). I see representa- 
tives of both branches of the Legislature and of all the most 
important interests of your city, a city which we regard not 
only with the respect due to the capital of a great Dominion, 
but with the affection which nearly five years of constant inter- 
course has built up in our hearts. It is delightful to us at the 
close of our sojourn in this country to know that we have 
become bound to you by something more than official ties, 
and, sir, when you, speaking in the name of such a body of 
men as that which I see before me, and with their approval and 
concurrence, have thought fit to address me as you have 
addressed me to-night, I may indeed feel that if I have 
achieved nothing else, I can at least lay claim to that which 
has in my eyes an estimable value, I mean the sympathy and 
good will of those amongst whom the greater portion of my 
life in this country has been passed. And, sir, I never felt 
more in need of that, sympathy than I do now. It is at the 
critical periods of one’s life that the sympathy of friends is essen- 
tial, and it is through such a period that we are now passing. 
I can assure you that, in spite of the brightness and exhilara- 
tion of the moment, in spite of all that hope, or if you like, 
ambition, can suggest, the feelings which are uppermost in our 
minds are those solemn and serious feelings which naturally 
arise when one is called upon to sever rudely the associations 
of years, and break with a past which has been peaceful, 
honourable and happy. 

“Of the kind terms in which you have described the way 
in which I have discharged the duties belonging to my office 
I scarcely know how to speak. I fear your estimate is coloured 
by your personal friendship and by that indulgence which is 
always bestowed upon those who are departing, or who are 
about to depart from bodily or political life. (Cries of no! 
no !) A famous Frenchman who was listening to a somewhat 
superlative encomium passed upon a person who had joined 
the great majority, is said to have observed that he was ready 
to give him credit for all the good qualities which were being: 

356 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

ascribed to him, ‘ Pourvu qu'il soit mort ! (Applause and 

laughter). But, sir, I am no cynic at the best of times, and I 
am sure that what you have said has been said from the heart, 
and from my heart I thank you for your warm and friendly 
approval of my conduct during my residence amongst you. 
No one knows better than I do how much has been left 
undone, or might have been done better, during that time. 
If you are willing to give us credit for having done our best 
we shall be content. When I say ‘we’ I hope you will under- 
stand that I am not using the mediaeval plural which is usually 
affected by royalty, but because in speaking of my relations 
with the people of Canada, and of my gratitude to you, I 
cannot separate Lady Lansdowne — (great applause) — from 
myself, and I feel quite sure that, although she is not present 
with us this evening, she appreciates as thoroughly as I do the 
significance and value of this mark of your good will. Let me 
add, too, that no one is better aware than I am of the extent 
of the assistance which I have received from her and from my 
small but willing and indefatigable staff. (Loud applause). 

And, sir, if my personal and private experience of Canada 
has been entirely fortunate, I think I may add that I have no 
reason for complaining of my experience of the public affairs 
of the country. The years which I have spent in your country 
have been upon the whole years of peaceful progress — years 
during which the reputation of your country has advanced, 
during which it has progressed in arts and manufactures, in 
education, and in all the conditions essential to the well-being 
of a great and prosperous community. If you have shared the 
vicissitudes of fortune which have afflicted other countries you 
have in my judgment suffered less from them than other 
nations. If there has been here and there a slight creaking in 
the machinery of your Constitution, we may, I think, neverthe- 
less venture to say that the structure of Federation has on the 
whole stood the test pretty well, and that it will, with a little 
watchfulness, continue to do so. (Applause). 

“ Upon the other hand, I am far from saying that my term 
of office has been an uneventful one. I could mention several 
events, any one of which would in itself be sufficient to mark 

Marquis of Lansdowne’s Farewell Speech. 357 

an epoch in your history. We had, in 1885, that most 
untoward rebellion in the North-West Territories, to which I 
will only refer for the purpose of making this observation, that 
while I believe that any feelings of local irritation, or more 
wide-spread race antagonism which it may have provoked at 
the time, will disappear completely, if they have not already 
done so, there will survive in the recollection of your people, 
long after the present generation has passed away, the 
memory of the manner in which your military forces, drawn 
from all portions of the Dominion, responded to the call which 
was then made upon them, and of the cheerfulness and 
gallantry with which they acquitted themselves during a 
trying and arduous campaign. (Renewed applause). 

“ While it is impossible to refer to these events without 
feelings in which pride is mingled with regret, we can recur 
with unmixed satisfaction to the great national achievement, 
the great peaceful victory which marked the following year. 
I mean the completion of the national highway, by which you 
have united the two oceans which wash the coast of British 
North America. That achievement is one which stands alone 
among the great national enterprises which the world has 
known, both in respect of the physical difficulties which it was 
necessary to overcome, and in respect of the rapidity and 
success with which the work was completed. The work is not 
only one which has fundamentally affected the relations of the 
different parts of the Dominion to each other, but it has 
affected those of the Dominion, as a whole, to the mother 
country and to the Empire, and I am glad to find that it 
is universally regarded as a most important contribution made 
by Canada to the strength of the Empire as a whole. (Loud 
applause). We cannot at present foresee the full extent of 
the consequences, political and economical, which are likely to 
accrue to us from its completion. The full results of such an 
improvement in the arterial communications of the Empire do 
not make themselves felt all at once. A great arterial road is 
not complete merely because an engine can run across it from 
end to end. Although the line has been now open for traffic 
for upwards of two years, we have yet to see its effects upon 

358 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

the general prosperity of the country when its equipment shall 
have been completed, its connections made good and devel- 
oped, and its ocean communications with other parts of the 
Empire placed, as I hope they soon will be, upon a thoroughly 
satisfactory footing. (Applause). 

“ I pass from these to a more recent event, and one upon 
which I confess I am disposed to dwell with equal pleasure. 
I mean the attempt which has been lately made to remove 
the only formidable source of disagreement which has, for 
many years past, existed between ourselves and the great 
republic which adjoins us. I have never been one of those 
who believed that our dispute with the Government of the 
United States in regard to our fisheries, was one which was 
likely to lead to a breach of the peace, or to prove in the end, 
incapable of solution. But, sir, the mere existence of such a 
dispute, embittering, as it did, our relations with our neigh- 
bours, endangering the harmony which ought to unite the 
whole British race on this continent, and affording a pretext 
to those who desired to stir up strife between the two powers 
was a calamity and a scandal to ourselves and to the whole 
world. (Applause). It is quite true that the final adjustment 
of these difficulties has not yet taken place. Whether they will 
be adjusted or not, and if so, what time, does not now depend 
upon us, but I will take upon myself, to say this, that even if 
the adjustment be indefinitely postponed, the whole com- 
plexion of the question has been radically altered by the 
negotiations which took place at Washington during the past 
winter, and by the treaty, ratified or unratified, in which they 
resulted. Six months ago the positions taken by the Govern- 
ment of the United States on the one hand, and by the 
Imperial Government and that of the Dominion on the other, 
appeared to be irreconcilable. As things stand at present, 
there is, as far as I am aware, no material difference of opinion 
between the three. Whatever be the action of those with 
whom the fate of the treaty at present rests, no miscarriage 
which we can now apprehend can possibly put matters back 
where they where before the meeting of the plenipotentiaries. 

Marquis of Lansdowne’s Farewell Speech. 359 

“ I rejoice to think that in the seventy years which have 
passed since the Treaty of 1818 was framed our relations with 
our kinsmen on the other side of the border have undergone 
a gradual and steady amendment There is a legend that 
early in the present century a Colonial Secretary advised the 
people of Canada to plant a belt of forest trees all along the 
frontier of the United States in order to keep Canada separate 
from that unruly people, and ‘ pure from republican contamin- 
ation/ (Laughter). That is not, I am happy to say, the 
policy of the present day. Of all the blessings enjoyed by the 
dwellers on this continent none is greater than their freedom 
from the dangerous rivalries and complications such as those 
which are, at this moment, paralysing industry and retarding 
prosperity on the continent of Europe. I trust it may be 
reserved to my successor to see the last shreds of this dispute 
which we have done our utmost to remove, swept away 
forever, leaving to us nothing but the frank, generous, and 
cordial understanding which should unite the English-speak- 
ing race upon this continent. (Great applause). 

“ And now, gentlemen, if I have ventured to mention 
these matters, I have done so not because I sought to leave on 
your minds, or on the minds of anyone, the impression that I 
desired to take any credit to myself in connection with the 
satisfactory results which have, I believe, in each case been 
arrived at. It is said that a great English personage, by dint 
of talking about the battle of Waterloo, succeeded in persuad- 
ing himself that he had taken part in that engagement. 
(Laughter). If I live long enough I shall, perhaps, persuade 
myself that I was in command at Batoche, that I discovered 
Roger’s Pass, and that I took part as a plenipotentiary in the 
negotiation of the Washington Treaty. (Great laughter). At 
present, in order to avoid misconceptions, let me state that I 
am under the impression that my friend Sir Frederick Middle- 
ton had the conduct of the North-West campaign (loud 
applause), that I was not even so fortunate as to drive the last 
spike of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and that although I 
certainly sat by Sir Charles Tupper, in spirit, during the 
Washington negotiations, I am glad to have this opportunity 

360 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

of bearing witness to the fact that whatever credit is due for 
their results belongs to him and to the distinguished British 
statesman, who, when the history of these negotiations comes 
to be more fully known, will be found to have watched your 
interests with an amount of tact and assiduity and determin- 
ation, which I will venture to say could not have been 
exceeded if he had been born within the sound of the Chaud- 
iere Falls. (Great applause). 

“ But, sir, while I wish to disclaim any attempt at obtain- 
ing for myself any portion of the credit which belongs to 
others, in respect of these events, and while I have never shut 
my eyes to the fact that the representative of the Crown, in a 
self-governing colony, occupies a position differing very widely 
from that of the Governor of a Crown colony, I am, on the 
other hand, very glad to find that you are not among those 
who have regarded his duties as being of a purely formal 
character, and consisting merely in the dispensation of a 
certain amount of hospitality, and in the delivery of occasional 
speeches bearing a strong family resemblance to each other, 
and containing, I am afraid, a good many commonplaces 
which must sound wearisome in the ears of those who are 
habituated to the more pungent utterances of political discus- 
sion. (Laughter and applause). I shall not admit, and I hope 
you will not do so either, that a constitutional Governor is one 
who does nothing at all. (Hear, hear, and applause). So far 
from holding that opinion, I should be myself inclined to say 
that while a great colony like yours continues to form a part 
of the Imperial system, and I do not see much sign of weari- 
ness of that connection on your side or on ours (great 
applause), you could not have a much more convenient or 
useful connection with the mother country than the office of 
Governor-General as it is now constituted. The person who 
fills it has altogether exceptional opportunities of serving the 
interests both of the mother country and of the colony. He 
can have one eye behind the scenes in Downing street, and 
another in the Dominion. (Hear, hear). His opportunities 
for effecting a good understanding between the two are very 
great. My own experience is that, if differences arise, they 

Marquis of Lansdowne’s Farewell Speech. 361 

arise in nine cases out of ten, from ignorance or misunder- 
standing of the real position of affairs on one side or the other. 
You should have in your Governor-General one who is able to 
speak with equal frankness and with equal knowledge of what 
he is talking about to either side, and to make it aware of the 
real requirements and situation of the other. (Loud applause). 
Holding as I do these opinions, it is most satisfactory to me 
to find that your verdict is not unfavourable to my conduct. 

“ It has been my earnest wish during the last four years to 
co-operate with the members of the Canadian Government in 
the promotion of whatever measures were most likely to con- 
duce to the general prosperity and well-being of the Dominion, 
and to leave nothing undone in order to ensure a feeling of 
mutual confidence and good will between your Government 
and that of the Queen. I rejoice to think that such a feeling 
exists at the present time, not only between the Governments 
of the two countries but between their peoples. I do not 
believe the general tone of public feeling ever was sounder or 
more friendly. (Renewed applause). That feeling is, moreover, 
something more than a mere spurious patriotism which takes 
refuge in vague and general professions of good-will, but 
evaporates in the face of the first breath of opposition. The 
spirit which animates it is eminently thoughtful, independent 
and critical. (Hear, hear). It takes very little for granted. 
It is not ready to say that a particular state of things must be 
satisfactory because it has always existed. It is, on the con- 
trary, disposed to place existing institutions on their trial, and 
to discuss with the utmost frankness questions which, in days 
of less intellectual and political activity, would have been 
gladly shirked and put on one side. Nothing, for instance, 
has struck me more than the intelligence and ability with 
which that great group of questions which are involved in the 
relation of the Colonies and the Empire has been discussed in 
this country during the last year or two. The public contro- 
versies which have taken place upon the political and econ- 
omical relations of the different parts of the Empire have been 
of extraordinary interest and have this great advantage, that 
whether we are on the eve of great changes or whether we 

362 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

may look forward to a long continuance of our present system, 
whether we find ourselves led in the direction of a closer 
approximation between the different parts of the Empire or, 
on the contrary, in the direction of a further emancipation 
from the already slight ties by which the different parts of the 
Empire are united, the community is being day by day 
instructed in regard to these matters, and will, if it is called 
upon to act, at all events, have no excuse for acting ignorantly 
and without a full knowledge of the consequences involved. 

“ It would be little short of an outrage if on an occasion 
like the present, I were to attempt a discussion of questions 
such as those to which I have referred. I will, however, so 
far presume upon the indulgence to which a departing friend 
is entitled, to make one general observation with regard to the 
standpoint from which they should be approached, that obser- 
vation is this, that in dealing with problems of this kind, the 
ultimate factor with which we have to reckon is the public 
sentiment of two great democratic communities. (Applause), 
It was once said by President Lincoln, with great truth, that 
with public sentiment nothing can fail, and that without it 
nothing can succeed, and that he who moulds sentiment goes 
deeper than he who enacts statutes. (Loud applause). The 
influence of sentiment is one which grows every day, which 
grows at the expense of hard logic and inexorable political 
economy. (Hear, hear). Before the days of household suff- 
rage, of cheap newspapers and sixpenny telegrams, public 
questions were disposed of by statesman philosophically, judi- 
cially, secretly in their studies or their council chambers. 
They are now, in nineteen out of twenty cases, virtually dis- 
posed of on the platform or in the press. (Hear, hear). I will 
not now enquire whether the change is one for the better, but 
it is one with which we have to count. When, therefore, we 
propose grave and far-reaching changes of policy, involving 
the future destinies of nations, we cannot bear this change too 
strongly in mind. 

“ Will you let me illustrate my meaning by referring to 
the suggestions which are from time to time made for the 

Marquis of Lansdowne’s Farewell Speech. 363 

establishment of closer and exclusive commercial relations 
between the Dominion and the great Republic which adjoins 
us — proposals which are made upon the assumption that 
in spite of the preference thus given to the latter our 
allegiance to the mother country is to remain unimpaired, and 
that her liability to make her cause our own is to stand exactly 
where it does now. In such cases I confess that the question 
which I ask myself is not whether such an arrangement would 
be advantageous to Canada or not, nor what are the motives 
of those by whom it is proposed. I am content to assume, if 
you please, that the change considered by itself might be 
financially a desirable one, and I am willing to give credit to 
those by whom such proposals are advocated for being every 
whit as loyal as I am myself. (Hear, hear). I own, however, 
that I am not without the most serious misgivings when I ask 
myself whether the public sentiment of the British democracy 
would stand the strain which the adoption of such a policy by 
the Dominion would place upon it, and whether it would not 
be likely to consider the extent, not so much of the material 
injury which it would be likely to sustain, but of the moral 
affront to which it was called upon to submit. (Applause). 

“ I am tempted again to apply a similar test when I am 
asked what I think of proposals of a very different kind, and 
leading us in an entirely opposite direction, such as those 
which are recommended, with the object of establishing 
between the different parts of the Empire relations, political 
and commercial, much more intimate and uniform than those 
which exist between them at the present time. The objects oi 
those by whom such proposals are made, have my warmest 
sympathy, but, sir, having I suppose a little Scotch blood in 
my veins, and being therefore of a cautious temperament, I 
pause and ask myself whether in endeavouring to improve the 
condition of things, we might not find ourselves again out- 
stripping the public sentiment of the communities concerned 
and expose their allegiance to a strain greater than it can 
bear. (Applause). Let me say frankly that, in my opinion, 
public sentiment in the great possessions of the Crown would 
be exposed to such a strain if the self-governing colonies were 

364 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

ever to be required to part with any material portion of the 
freedom which they now enjoy in the management of their 
own affairs. I have the honour of a pretty close acquaintance 
with a considerable number of your legislators here, and I will 
venture to say that there is no feeling stronger in their minds, 
and in that of their constituents, than the feeling that in 
purely Canadian affairs the Constitution recognizes the abso- 
lute supremacy of the Canadian Parliament. (Loud applause). 
Now, I do not believe that public sentiment here would 
tolerate any change depriving it of that authority, or trans- 
ferring any portion of it to, let us say, an Imperial Chamber 
sitting at Westminster. You might send your best men to it, 
but before they had been there six months they would find 
that the real power remained where it was before, namely, 
within the Parliament Buildings at Ottawa. (Hear, hear and 
applause). I would ask you for a moment to consider how 
the policy of centralizing Imperial business at Westminster 
would work if you were to push it too hard. 

“ Take, for example, a great question which is now engag- 
ing the attention of the public, and Her Majesty’s Govern- 
ment at home, I mean the question of our Imperial defences. 
There is, I think, room for a great deal of improvement in the 
existing condition of things. There is no reason why the 
Governments of the great colonies and the United Kingdom 
should not agree before hand what measures are to be taken 
by the military and naval forces at their disposal for the pro- 
tection of different portions of our Imperial possessions. 
(Hear, hear). The Australian colonies have lately commenced 
a very useful movement in this direction by providing them- 
selves with a small naval force of their own, which would 
under a pre-arranged system co-operate with the Royal Navy 
in Australian waters. The part to be taken by the British and 
Colonial forces, respectively, in manning the different positions 
might, with great advantage, be determined, and there are 
many other steps of the same sort which will readily suggest 
themselves to you. But if we are to go further than this and 
to have a covenant binding, let us say, this country to place a 
certain number of men at the absolute disposal of the Imperial 

Marquis of Lansdowne’s Farewell Speech. 365 

Government whenever it is called upon, I say frankly that I do 
not believe that such an arrangement would work. (Applause). 
If the safety of the Empire was menaced, and if the people of 
this country felt that our cause was a just one, you would not 
choose that moment, when the Empire was in peril, to repud- 
iate your relationship, or to avoid your share in resisting the 
attack. (Tremendous applause). In such circumstances, I 
would sooner trust to the spontaneous action of Canada to 
give me 50,000 men than trust to getting a couple of regiments 
because you were under a hard and fast bargain compelling 
you to supply them. (Renewed applause). 

“ Or, again let us suppose an experiment of the same kind 
to be tried in regard to the fiscal system of the Empire. I 
have said the fiscal system of the Empire, but there is no such 
thing. The fiscal arrangements of the possessions of the 
British Crown are, at present, chaotic. You have colonies 
which are free traders, and colonies which are proctectionist ; 
you have colonies with ad valorem duties, and colonies with 
specific duties ; you have British possessions like India, with 
only seven articles in its tariff list, and you have possessions like 
Canada, with a list of four hundred and fifty. Let us suppose 
that you are going to try your hand at the introduction of a 
uniform system. You will have two tremendous obstacles to 
encounter. In the first place, if you are going to propose that 
the parts of the British Empire shall join hands and adopt a 
common tariff against other nations, you will have to convince 
the people of Great Britain that you are not going to lead them 
into a morass. The United Kingdom does, roughly speaking, 
at present three-fourths of its trade with foreign countries, and 
one-fourth with British possessions. Self-preservation is a 
pretty strong instinct in commercial circles at home, as it is in 
Canada, and you will find that not a few of our friends will 
hesitate to disturb the three-fourths of their business which 
they do with the foreigner on the chance of making the 
remaining quarter a little larger than it is now. (Hear, 

“ The case is still stronger if you go into details. It is a 
matter of life and death to them. Take the great commodity 

366 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

of wheat Why should not Great Britain admit wheat from 
the North-West duty free, and tax that coming from foreign 
countres ? Now, Great Britain only grows one-third of the 
wheat required for her own consumption ; of the remaining 
two-thirds she takes every year from foreign countries three- 
fourths, and the remaining one-fourth from British possessions. 
From this country it takes only about three per cent, of the 
whole. We should, I am afraid, find some difficulty in con- 
vincing the public sentiment of Great Britain that we should 
venture to tamper with the larger share of those supplies, and 
probably increase the cost of every bushel sold in Great 
Britain for many years to come, for the sake of doing a good 
turn to those who are at present able to supply us only with 
a fraction of our requirements. (Hear, hear). 

“ That is the first obstacle ; let us assume that it has been 
overcome. There follows an even more formidable assump- 
tion, namely, that we have been able to devise a system 
adjusted so ingeniously as to suit the mother country as well 
as her possessions on this continent, in Australasia, in Africa 
and in British India. If you take the trouble to compare 
the existing tariffs, and if you will remember that these 
represent the decided preferences of the different communities 
concerned, you will see what a tremendous assumption that is. 
But there is worse to come. You have got the whole of the 
British colonies into line. Are you sure they will stay there ? 
We all know that there is no such thing as finality in these 
fiscal arrangements. Circumstances alter, new discoveries 
are made, new trade communications and connections arise, 
and your imperial tariff will stand in need of revision and 
adjustment to circumstances as they alter from time to time. 
Who is to make this alteration ? We must have an Imperial 
Council, which might in itself be, no doubt, a very admirable 
thing. When I, look around these tables I feel inclined to 
submit a list of Canadian representatives which would take 
away Lord Rosebery’s breath, and stagger Lord Dun raven. 
(Laughter). But of this I am convinced, that the public senti- 
ment of the Canadian people would not permit such an 
assembly to tamper with what would be regarded here as the 

Marquis of Lansdowne’s Farewell Speech. 369 

domestic business of the Canadian Parliament. (Loud 
applause). It would be almost possible to draw in our 
imagination a humorous picture of the return of the Canadian 
delegates to their own country after the adjournment of the 
Imperial Council. They might find themselves in the painful 
position of having to report that the duties upon some articles 
in which you were largely interested here, some carefully 
reared offspring of the Canadian tariff, had been removed or 
reduced, and they would add that they deplored the decision 
greatly themselves, but that there had been some log rolling 
at Westminister and that they had been out-voted, perhaps, 
because the South African and Australian delegates were 
anxious that ostrich feathers and opossum skins should be 
admitted duty free into a foreign country. I suspect that 
before long they would wish themselves safely back in their 
own Legislature again. (Laughter and applause). 

“ I cannot end these observations without expressing my 
gratitude, not only for your friendly references to the past, but 
also for the interest with which you have spoken of our future 
prospects. I rejoice to feel not only that you do not look 
upon our departure with indifference, but also that we shall 
carry with us your good wishes in the new career which is 
about to open for us in another part of the Empire. I feel 
that I stand in great need of your support in face of the heavy 
load of responsibility which wall shortly be resting upon my 
shoulders. The post which I am called upon to fill is 
certainly one of which the responsibilities are heavy. Whether 
we look at the historical interest of the nations by which it 
has been inhabited, or whether we consider the vast problems 
which present themselves to those who are to-day engaged in 
securing the safety of the Indian Empire, in maintaining 
peace and order within it, or in taking the necessary precau- 
tions to guard the people committed to their charge from the 
inroads of pestilence and famine, or whether, again, we look 
forward to those other problems, which as time goes on, and as 
education leavens and fertilizes these great masses of human 
beings, and leads them to regard with increasing intelligence 
and an increasing desire to take part in them, the public 




The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

affairs of their own country, of this no doubt can arise that no 
more splendid or interesting field exists for those whose 
ambition it is to serve their country and the Empire of the 
Queen. (Great applause). 

“ And now, Mr. Mayor, it remains for me to thank you 
once more for your kindness to us, and for all the kindness 
which we have received at the hands of your citizens. We 
shall leave you, but nothing can rob us of the memorials and 
associations which have grown up since we have lived amongst 
you — memories and associations which we shall preserve 
amongst the most treasured reminiscences of our lives. (Loud 
applause). How many and how pleasant will be the Cana- 
dian visions which, in years to come, will float across the field 
of our imaginations when we are far from hence. Visions of 
the Canadian spring, and of wood and field, bursting, as they 
are bursting now, into leaf and flower. Visions of summer and 
of delightful rambles among your mountains and rivers. 
Visions of autumn, and of hillsides clothed in hues which no 
eastern splendour could surpass. Visions of winter, with its 
clear skies, its exhilarating sports out of doors, and within, the 
bright fire of Gatineau logs, with our children and friends 
gathered round us. (Applause). Visions of all these and 
many more will come back to us as we roam unconsciously 
through the past. But, sir, above all and through all, there 
will stand out clearly, as it were, in the foreground of the 
picture, the recollection of the people with whom, during these 
years, we have lived in the happiest and most unconstrained 
relations, a people, kindly, hospitable and generous to a fault. 
(Applause). And of no part of the Dominion shall we carry 
away pleasanter or more affectionate recollections than of this 
city, the city which has been our home, and around which 
there have grown up all those tender and touching associa- 
tions which belong to the word. We did not know how deeply 
our roots had struck here until the time came when it was 
'necessary to tear them up. (Great applause). 

“ Mr. Mayor, I will close what I have to say with a confes- 
sion. I spent three-quarters of an hour last night in endea- 
vouring to compose a peroration for this speech, but I could 

Marquis of Lansdowne’s Farewell Speech. 371 

not hit upon anything quite to my liking. I have often 
noticed that a speaker will make you a speech transparent in 
its sincerity and devoid of affectation until he arrives at 
his concluding passage. I felt, that to-night anything of a 
conventional kind would jar with my own feelings, to such an 
extent that I consigned my peroration to the fire-place, 
where it ended, as most perorations do, in smoke. (Laughter 
and applause). 

“ Under these distressing circumstances, I am going to ask 
your permission to read to you in lieu of a peroration one or 
two sentences from a document discovered at Government 
House in an apartment which will, I understand, shortly be 
occupied by Lord Stanley of Preston. It is evidently a frag- 
ment or a series of fragments of a dairy, and you may be able 
to aid me with a conjecture as to its authorship. The first 
entry is dated towards the close of 1883. It runs as follows : 
‘ In for five years of expatriation ; almost wish I had stuck to 
North Wiltshire ; must make the best of it.’ (Laughter). The 
next entry is in 1884. ‘We are making the best of it, and 
find it very far from unpleasant ; the five years will pass 
quickly/ Then comes a note in the following year: ‘Time 
passes very quickly and pleasantly. I take back what I wrote 
about expatriation/ (Loud laughter). After this comes the 
following in 1886 : ‘ Time positively flying ; we are beginning 
to feel quite at home here ; not quite sure that we shall not 
have to make it six years instead of five/ (Renewed laughter). 
Then, sir, there comes in 1887 an entry occasioned evidently 
by some event which exercised a very great effect on the mind 
of the writer. ‘ These Canadians are splendid fellows, and 
have stood by us nobly. We have quite made up our minds 
to make it six years/ (Great applause). Last of all comes 
an entry written in rather shaky characters and running thus : 
‘ Why could not D. remain where he was ? It goes to our 
heart to leave this country and its kind-hearted people. I 
trust they will remember us — we shall not forget them — while 
we live/ And, Mr. Mayor, take my word for it, we shall not.” 
(Tremendous cheers). 

When His Excellency resumed his seat he received 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

another ovation, the cheering and applause lasting for a con- 
siderable time. 

The Mayor proposed the toast of “ The Queen’s Privy 
Council in Canada,” remarking that there were present not 
only members of the Government, but ex-Ministers, leaders of 
the other great party in the country. (Applause). 

Sir John Macdonald on rising received a perfect ovation, 
cheer after cheer ringing through the room. He said “ the 
toast was a very appropriate one, selected with the best spirit 
and would be productive of the best effect. (Cheers). The 
Privy Council was composed of some of the chief men of 
Canada, not all agreeing in sentiment, but agreeing to dis- 
agree, and all anxious for the prosperity of a common country. 
(Applause). They were cordially united to convey in the 
most unmistakeable manner a respectful regard for the repre- 
sentative of the Sovereign, whose departure they all deeply 
regretted. After what had been so well said by the Mayor, it 
would be out of place to add a single word, with the exception 
of expressing, as a Privy Councillor, his deep sense of grati- 
tude for His Excellency’s kindness and sincere desire for the 
prosperity of Canada. (Cheers). He paid the distinguished 
gentleman a high compliment as a constitutional Governor. 
(Applause). He had displayed great zeal and ability in the 
discharge of his duty, and a singleness of mind, heart and 
intellect in everything connected with the interests of Canada. 
(Hear, hear). He could say that on many occasions he had 
usefully accepted the advice His Excellency had been kind 
enough to give. (Hear, hear). He regarded him with the 
greatest affection and esteem, and he hoped he would be 
spared to prove himself as graceful in the greater scene to 
which he had been called. (Applause). He predicted that 
when he returned to the mother country, after serving well his 
Queen in India, that he would assume that high position in 
the councils of the nation, which his distinguished abilities fit 
him for. (Cheers). At that time he had no doubt he would 
not forget his love for Canada and the Canadian people. 
(Hear, hear). He could hardly trust himself to speak of Lady 
Lansdowne. They all loved her for her amiability and court- 

Lord Lansdowne’s Popularity. 


es y, and her anxious desire to make everyone feel happy. 
(Applause). Her Excellency was sincerity itself, and she had 
told him that the happiest hours of her life had been spent in 
this country. (Applause). He again and again expressed 
his deepest regret at the departure of His Excellency and 
Lady Lansdowne, and sat down amid a perfect hurricane of 

Sir Hector Langevin followed in a similar strain. Speaking 
on behalf of the French-Canadian people, he said “they never 
had a more popular representative of Her Majesty than Lord 
Lansdowne. (Cheers). He not only knew what the wants of 
the people were, but also the wishes of the Queen, and he 
could truthfully say that from one end of Canada to the other 
there could not be found one man more Canadian than Lord 
Lansdowne.” (Cheers). He also spoke kindly of Lady Lans- 
downe, and closed with an appropriate sentence in French. 

Honourable Mr. Laurier spoke of the pride the French- 
Canadians felt at living under the British flag. Lord Lans- 
downe had more than fulfilled all expectations, and would carry 
away with him the affections of the people he governed so 
well. His utterances were inspiring and were well received. 
He sat down amid great applause. 

Sir Richard Cartwright followed in a happy speech and 
was frequently cheered. 

His Excellency then proposed in a few felicitious sentences 
the health of the “ Mayor and Corporation of the City of 
Ottawa,” which was received with three times three. 

His Worship responded in happy terms, and the festive 
proceedings were brought to a close by the band playing the 
National Anthem. 

“ In its editorial commenting upon the demonstration, the 
Citizen expressed view's which, it is safe to say,- were fully and 
enthusiastically endorsed by every one who read them. 

“ Canada has been exceptionally favoured in the selection 
of Her Majesty’s representatives, since Confederation. Lord 
Monck, Lord Lisgar, the Earl of Dufferin, the Marquis of Lome 
and the Marquis of Lansdowne have each, in their time, main- 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

tained that attitude of perfect neutrality towards political 
parties, that ‘subtle and inward balance of sympathy, judgment 
and ‘ opinion/ so well becoming, so necessary to those entrusted 
with vice-regal responsibilities in a constitutionally governed 
country ; each has, towards Ministers of the Crown, Parlia- 
ment and People, worthily performed the difficult task of 
assisting in laying deep and strong the foundation of a great 
nationality — the future right arm of the British Empire on 
this portion of the American continent ; each has endeared 
himself to those Canadians who can appreciate the success- 
ful discharge of duties demanding the best and highest 
elements of statesmanship. Lord Lansdowne, during his 
administration, has closely identified himself with the social 
life of the Dominion ; instinct, and a careful training in the 
political school of the mother country, prompted him, at all 
times, to sympathise with the every day life, the every day 
aspirations of the people. Like one of his worthy predecess- 
ors, Lord Dufferin, his constant aim appeared to be, to draw 
all classes towards him. Canada’s industrial, commercial, 
agricultural and philanthropic interests, on all occasions, 
received his ardent support ; no appeal was responded to in a 
niggardly spirit ; his purse was open to every local charity; 
his eloquence heard in advocacy of every national project. 
Hence, the magnificent demonstration tendered to him last 
night, was an unstinted and unreserved mark of appreciation, a 
worthy tribute to a worthy Governor and distinguished man.” 
Lord Lansdowne was succeeded as Governor-General by 
the Right Honourable Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley, G. C. B., 
Baron Stanley of Preston, the second son of the fourteenth 
Earl of Derby. He was born on January 15, 1841, and 
received his education at Eton. He was formerly a captain in 
the Grenadier Guards, and is now Honorary Colonel 3rd and 
4th Battalions, Kings’ Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment. 
He is also a supernumerary A. D. C. to Her Majesty the 
Queen. He was a member of the House of Commons from 
1865 to 1886, when he was raised to the Peerage. On May 
31, 1864, he was married to Lady Constance Villiers, eldest 
daughter of the fourth Earl of Clarendon, K. G. His official 

Lord Stanley as Governor-General. 


experience extends over a great many years, during which 
time he has served his country in a variety of capacities. He 
was Civil Lord of the Admiralty, August to November, 1868 ; 
Financial Secretary to War Office, 1874-7 ; Secretary to 
Treasury, 1878 ; Secretary of State for War 1878-80 ; Secre- 
tary of State for the Colonies 1885-6, and President of the 
Board of Trade, 1886-88. During the time he sat in the House 
of Commons he represented Preston, 1865-8 ; North Lanca- 
shire, 1868-85, an d Blackpool division of Lancashire, 1885-6. 
He was appointed Governor-General of Canada May 1st, and 
sworn in at Ottawa June 11, 1888. 

Immediately after the ceremony, he was presented with an 
address of welcome by the Mayor (Mr. McLeod Stewart) and 
the Corporation of the city. His reply was so hearty in 
manner, so simple in expression, and so natural in every 
respect, that those who had the pleasure of hearing it felt that 
they were listening to words which sprang from his heart. Of 
his predecessor he spoke in warmest praise, saying : “ Among 
the long roll of distinguished men who have filled the high 
office to which I have been appointed, there is none whose 
name will be written in more golden letters in the history of 
this country, than that of Lord Lansdowne after his career of 
office. He has, I venture to say, endeared himself to all with 
whom he has been brought in contact. His great abilities, 
his calm judgment, his knowledge, his courteous manner, have 
all contributed to make him maintain, as I think he can justly 
claim to have maintained, the high reputation of his house, 
and the character of an English statesman. He, I know, felt 
nothing but unmixed regret in leaving the country where, from 
the commencement of his sojourn, he had been received with 
such frank hospitality and with such hearty good will, and 
although I have been but a few hours amongst you, I think I 
can say that I have already experienced, aye, even before my 
arrival, that hospitality, that kindness, that cordiality, which 
has made the name of every citizen of this Dominion prover- 
bial, and I have fallen even now under a certain amount of the 
charm which, after riper experience, seems to have settled 
upon my predecessors.” 

376 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

When His Excellency spoke of the principles which had 
actuated him in his past political life, he impressed all present 
with a feeling that, as the Governor-General of Canada, his 
highest aim would be to discharge the duties of his office in an 
honest and faithful manner, and to endeavour, by kindness 
and tact, to cause the machinery of government to move 
with as little friction as possible. On this point he said, “ You 
have been good enough to refer to other offices which it has 
been my lot to hold at different times. In all these various 
situations, it seems to me that there is one principle, and only 
one, that can dictate with success a career in public life. It is 
that of endeavouring to address one’s self with single hearted- 
ness to the problem with which one may be called upon 
to deal, with an earnest desire to remove all difficulties, with 
an earnest hope to soften differences, if such may arise, and to 
endeavour to have before one but one view, namely, that of 
the public welfare. And when the time comes for me to lay 
down the great charge, which this day and at this moment I 
have the honour of assuming, then I will hope I may feel that 
it is by that rule I have been guided, and it is by the result 
that I am content to be judged. In the concluding paragraph 
of your address you refer in graceful terms to the regrets 
which you assume I feel in leaving the country of my birth 
and assuming duties elsewhere. I think I have spoken 
sufficiently already to show you in what spirit your kindness 
is met. I reciprocate from the depths of my heart those 
kindly expressions of which you have been good enough to 
make use, and I trust that, be my career long or short, I may 
feel when my period of office comes to an end, that I have 
endeavoured, God willing, to devote to the utmost, my abilities 
to the cause, to the interests, and to the welfare of your great 

The impression that Lord Stanley made on his first 
appearance has deepened and extended as the years of his 
term of office have rolled by, and when the hour of his 
departure arrives, that event will be attended with the same 
feelings of regret that marked the leave-taking of his imme- 
diate predecessors, and he will carry away with him the same 

•Death of John Henry Pope. 


warm feelings of respect, admiration and affection. More 
than that it would be impossible to wish him. 

Of the three members of the Cabinet who went to England 
to interest capitalists in the Pacific railway, two — Sir John 
Macdonald and the Honourable John Henry Pope have joined 
the great majority, and Sir Charles Tupper alone survives. 
After serving his country faithfully and zealously for many 
years, remaining at his post long after failing health warned 
him that it was time to seek repose, the trusted and loved 
friend of the Premier, to whom his whole heart was given, 
John Henry Pope passed peacefully away, surrounded by the 
members of his family, on April i, 1889. The House was in 
session at the time, and the news, which was not unexpected, 
was quickly conveyed to Sir John Macdonald, who, in a voice 
so broken by emotion as to be scarcely audible, announced 
the sad news of the death of his personal and political friend 
and colleague, and moved the adjournment of the House. In 
communicating the intelligence to its readers, on the following 
morning, the Citizen bore testimony to the great loss the 
country had sustained in the following touching words : 

“ One of Canada’s ablest statesmen passed to his long 
home yesterday afternoon at five o’clock. Many a tear will 
fall, many a heart will ache, when the news is flashed over the 
wires that John Henry Pope is dead. Few knew him as he 
was in the confidences of social life ; few, save those who met 
him at the Council Board, realized the beautiful simplicity of 
his nature, coupled with giant intellectual faculties ; not the 
mere flashy accomplishments, which charm for the time being; 
but broad, practical, comprehensive views, manlike courage, 
untiring iudustry — in short, lessons learned in the world’s 
great school of human nature, not drawn from the artificial 
avenues of speculative theory, or from the half-digested 
opinions of closet students. Essentially a retiring man, who 
preferred solitude to the attractions of society, Mr. Pope could 
hold his position in any sphere. He cared for men as he 
found them, and usually, as he frequently expressed it, made 
no -mistakes in ‘ sizing them up.’ A keen wit, a natural 
humorist, philanthropic to the deserving, a Ulysses in Council, 

378 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

the lamented gentleman always commanded the onfidence of 
his friend and colleague, the Premier, and orced those who 
questioned either his ability to grapple with intricate national 
questions, or the motives inspiring any action, to ultimately 
regard him as the safest and most progressive head who has 
presided over a department of Administration since the Union. 
In losing Mr. Pope, who as Minister of Agriculture and after- 
wards Minister of Railways, has worked in unison with him, 
Sir John Macdonald loses a devoted friend, an able counsellor, 
a sincere Canadian — and Canada is deprived of a man whose 
single interest, at all times, was to develop her immense 
resources and make her, as he firmly believed she should be, 
the greatest Colony attached to the Empire, and eventually, 
the greatest portion of the continent of North America. 

“ The Honourable John Henry Pope, Minister of Railways 
and Canals, was born in Cookshire, Province of Quebec, in 
December, 1819. He was the son of Colonel John Pope, whose 
father was one of those United Empire Loyalists, who came 
from the United States, and formed a nucleus of settlers in the 
Eastern Townships. Educational facilities being extremely 
limited in those days, Mr. Pope received the rudiments of 
education at the Common School at Cookshire, after which 
he actively engaged in farming. At an early age, he was 
elected representative of the Township of Eaton, in the 
County Council at Sherbrooke. He was, however, first 
attracted towards active politics, by the movement in favour 
of annexation, in 1849. The question of annexation to the 
United States was, at that time, somewhat favourably looked 
upon, and public opinion was strongly towards its becoming 
an accomplished fact. Mr. Pope, although then a young man, 
took a strong stand against it, organized meetings in various 
parts of the country, and upon Sir A. T. Galt resigning his 
seat as member for the then County of Sherbrooke, Mr. 
Cleveland, of Richmond, at the suggestion of Mr. Pope, was 
chosen to oppose the late Judge Sanborn, who came forward 
as the annexation candidate. The fight was bitter, but the 
election resulted in Mr. Sanborn’s return by a very small 
majority. It proved, however, the strength of Mr. Pope and 

Death of John Henry Pope. 


the friends who surrounded him. At the next two general 
elections, Mr. Pope personally opposed Judge Sanborn, with- 
out success. At the election of 1857, however, Judge San- 
born’s experience caused a change of sentiment, and he 
retired in Mr. Pope’s favour. He ever since sat as member for 
Compton, and, although many times opposed, has always been 
returned by overwhelming majorities. 

“ The hand of death has pressed the life out of one of the 
noblest natures, one of the truest friends, one of the best and 
most successful lovers of Canada, this country ever could, or 
ever will, boast of. He died as he lived, calmly, unostenta- 
tiously. He died with the hand of a loving wife in his own, 
the voice of a daughter, he cared so much for, sounding in his 
ears ; the manly words of a son, in whom he placed all confi- 
dence, solacing his last moments. He has gone — and with 
him passes away one of the most devoted stewards of the 
public demesne, who ever held office under any Canadian 

But while we mourn the loss of these two great men, losses 
which all recognize as irreparable, we rejoice that the services 
of Sir Charles Tupper, one of the most able and eminent of 
Canada’s sons is still preserved to us. During his whole life he 
has laboured to advance the material interests of the country of 
his birth ; first, in the legislative halls of Nova Scotia, and of 
later years in the wider sphere of Dominion politics. He has 
ever been steadfast in his principles and a devoted friend to his 
leader and to his party. Caring less for self than for the pros- 
perity and happiness of his country he has never hesitated to 
sacrifice his own claims to advancement when it appeared that 
some good purpose could be achieved by advancing another. 
No one could dispute his claims, as Premier of Nova Scotia, to 
a position of importance in the first Dominion Cabinet, but he 
cheerfully declined, and yielded his place to another, because 
he thought that a certain element should be represented, and 
for three years, as a private member, lent a loyal and powerful 
assistance to the Government. After that period it was recog- 
nized that his country required his services in a more promi- 
nent position and he was called to a seat in the Cabinet, since 

380 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

which time no Conservative Ministry was considered complete 
without him. 

Sir Charles Tupper is a son of the late Rev. Charles 
Tupper, D.D., of Aylesford, N.S., and was born at Amherst 
on July 2, 1821. He is M.A. and D.C.L. of Acadia College, 
and D.C.L. of Cambridge. He took his degree of M.D. in 
Edinburgh in 1843, and returning to Nova Scotia, practised 
his profession is his native place. In 1846 he married Miss 
Francis Morse of Amherst. He entered public life in 185 5 ? 
when he was returned to represent the county of Northumber- 
land with Mr. A. McFarlane, in the Conservative interest, in 
opposition to the Honourable Joseph Howe and Mr. S. Fulton, 
the Reform or Liberal candidates. On the change of govern- 
ment, which took place in Nova Scotia in 1857, he was ten- 
dered and accepted the office of Provincial Secretary, and in 
this course he was heartily supported by his constituents. At 
the general election in 1859 he was again elected for Cumber- 
land, together with Mr. A. McFarlane on the Conservative, 
and the Honourable Mr. Young on the Liberal side; that 
county under a new law returning three members. In i860, 
the Government being defeated in the House of Assembly by 
a majority of two, he resigned office and resumed the practice 
of his profession in the city of Halifax. At the general elec- 
tion, 1863, the province was swept by the Conservative party, 
the Government sustaining an overwhelming defeat. Dr. 
Tupper was returned for Cumberland by acclamation, with 
Messrs. McFarlane and R. Donkin — all in the Conservative 
interest. In consequence of the decided disapproval and want 
of confidence expressed by the country, the Government 
resigned immediately after the elections, and the Honourable 
J. W. Johnston, now Mr. Justice Johnston, was called upon to 
form a new Administration. Dr. Tupper was again appointed 
Provincial Secretary, in the room of the Honourable Mr. 
Howe, and on appealing to his constituents was re-elected by 
acclamation. Upon the elevation of Mr. Johnston to the bench, 
in 1864, Dr. Tupper succeeded him as leader of the Adminis- 
tration, which office he retained until he retired with his Gov- 
ernment on the Union Act coming into force. He was created 

Services of Sir Charles Tupper. 


C.B. (Civil) by Her Majesty in 1867; K.C.M.G., May 24, 1879; 
G.C.M.G., January, 1 886; and a Baronet for his services on the 
Fisheries Conference, September 13, 1888. He declined a 
seat in the Dominion Cabinet, 1867 ; was appointed President 
of the Council, June, 1870 ; Minister of Inland Revenue, July, 
1872; Minister of Customs, February 22, 1873. When Sir 
John Macdonald returned to power in 1878, Sir Charles 
Tupper was appointed Minister of Public Works. In 1879 he 
was appointed Minister of Railways and Canals and retained 
that position until 1884, when he was appointed High Com- 
missioner for Canada in London. Just before the elections of 
1887 he re-entered the Cabinet as Finance Minister and 
retained the position for fifteen months, when he was re-ap- 
pointed High Commissioner. In 1887 he took part in the 
Fisheries Conference at Washington as one of Her Majesty’s 
Plenipotentiaries, and carried a Bill through both Houses of 
the Canadian Parliament for the ratification of the treaty. In 
the fulfilment of the duties of his high office as the representa- 
tive of Canada in England, Sir Charles has displayed great 
energy and ability, and to his able advocacy Canadians are 
indebted for many of the commercial privileges which they 
now enjoy. At the call of his chief he returned to Canada 
and took part in the elections of 1891. Being a good speaker, 
forcible in his arguments, happy in his illustrations and elegant 
in his delivery, his well stocked mind and intimate knowledge 
of all political questions that effect the country proved of 
inestimable value during the campaign. In fact, the history 
of that memorable contest is altogether imperfect without a 
full report of his speeches and of the active part taken by him 
in all the older settled parts of the country, but as the one 
central idea of these pages is to present a view of the services 
of Sir John Macdonald, we can only refer in an incidental 
manner to the work performed by others. 

In giving an account of the later years of Sir John’s life 
we have dealt only with the larger questions, and have not 
gone into that more minute detail that was necessary in refer- 
ring to former periods. This has been done for the purpose of 
avoiding all appearance of a desire to become partizan or 

382 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

controversial, and also because in his last great fight were 
embodied the principles for which he had fought in the pre- 
ceding years. We feel that this contest, which unquestionably 
was the cause of his death, cannot be treated in the same way, 
and that the Life of Sir John Macdonald would be incomplete 
were we not to present to our readers the issues for which 
he contended. The next three chapters will, therefore, be 
devoted to a consideration of the questions involved in the 
Chieftain’s last fight. 


Dissolution of Parliament, 1891 — Address of Sir John Macdonald to the electors 
of Canada — Mr. Foster’s address to his constituents — The platform of the 
Liberal party — Divergent views of Sir Richard Cartwright, Mr. Mackenzie, 
Mr. Mowat, Mr. Charlton, Mr. Davies and others — Address of Honourable 
Wilfred Laurier — Conservative meeting at Toronto — The Farrer pamphlet 
— Enthusiasm at Hamilton — Immense gathering at London — A marvellous 
day’s work by Sir John — Great political gathering at Kingston — Address 
from the Primrose League — The Windsor demonstration — The Farrer- 
Wiman correspondence. 

N February 4, 1891, it was announced that Parliament 

was dissolved, that nominations for the House of 
Commons would take place on February 26th, and elections be 
held on March 5th. 

The season of the year selected was unusual and incon- 
venient, and the period for which members were elected had 
not yet expired, but the question of trade relations with the 
United States had assumed so grave a form, and views so 
extreme and so alarming had been advocated by some promi- 
nent and influential men, that it was thought right that the 
voice of the people snould be heard at the polls. The Govern- 
ment, doubtless, felt assured that they could not only rely 
upon the support of the Liberal Conservative party, but would 
also draw to them patriotic men of all classes and opinions 
who, at so serious a juncture in their country’s history, might 
be expected to lay aside party feeling and party traditions and 
vote for a policy coincident with national honour and indepen- 
dence. During twelve continuous years the country had 
thriven and progressed under the influence of the National 
Policy which had fostered and protected every interest effect- 
ing the manufacturers, the farmer, the merchant and the 
workman ; the great Canadian Pacific Railway had been 
completed from ocean to ocean ; cities and towns had been 
built up with a rapidity that rivalled the marvellous growth of 
the American Republic ; new avenues of trade had been dis- 
covered ; the bonds of British connection had been more firmly 
cemented ; and peace, contentment, prosperity and happiness 
reigned from one end of the country to the other. 


384 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

The history of these twelve years, and the policy intended 
to be pursued by the Government in the future, together with 
an explanation of the policy adopted by the Opposition and 
its probable result, were laid before the country in a plain but 
stirring address issued by Sir John Macdonald shortly after 
the announcement of the dissolution of Parliament. This 
manifesto was as follows : 

To the Electors of Canada : 

Gentlemen, — The momentous questions now engaging public 
attention having, in the opinion of the Ministry, reached that stage when 
it is desirable that an opportunity should be given to the people of 
expressing at the polls their views thereon, the Governor-General has 
been advised to terminate the existence of the present House of Commons 
and to issue writs summoning a new Parliament. This advice His 
Excellency has seen fit to approve, and you, therefore, will be called 
upon within a short time to elect members to represent you in the great 
council of the nation. I shall be a candidate for the representation of my 
old constituency, the city of Kingston. 

In soliciting at your hands a renewal of the confidence which I have 
enjoyed as a Minister of the Crown for thirty years, it is, I think, conven- 
ient that I should take advantage of the occasion to define the attitude of 
the Government in which I am First Minister towards the leading politi- 
cal issues of the day. 

As in 1878, in 1882, and again in 1887, so in 1891, do questions 
relating to the trade and commerce of the country occupy a foremost place 
in the public mind. Our policy in respect thereto is, to-day, what it has 
been for the past thirteen years, and is directed by a firm determination 
to foster and develop the varied resources of the Dominion by every 
means in our power consistent with Canada’s position as an integral 
portion of the British Empire. To that end we have laboured in the past, 
and we propose to continue in the work to which we have applied our- 
selves, of building up on this continent, under the flag of England, a 
great and powerful nation. 

When, in 1878, we were called upon to administer the affairs of the 
Dominion, Canada occupied a position in the eyes of the world, very 
different from that which she enjoys to-day. At that time a profound 
depression hung like a pall over the whole country, from the Atlantic 
Ocean to the western limits of the Province of Ontario, beyond which, to 
the Rocky Mountains, stretched a vast and almost unknown wilderness. 
Trade was depressed, manufactures languished, and, exposed to ruinous 
competition, Canadians were fast sinking into the position of being mere 
hewers of wood and drawers of water for the great nation dwelling to the 
south of us. 

Last Address to the Electors. 385 

We determined to change this unhappy state of things. We felt that 
Canada, with its agricultural resources, rich in its fisheries, timber and 
mineral wealth, was worthy of a nobler position than that of being a 
slaughter market for the United States. We said to the Americans : 
“We are perfectly willing to trade with you on equal terms. We are 
desirous of having a fair reciprocity treaty, but we will not consent to 
open our markets to you while yours remain closed to us.” So we 
inaugurated the National Policy. You all know what followed. Almost, 
as if by magic, the whole face of the country underwent a change. Stag- 
nation and apathy and gloom — aye, and want and misery, too — gave place 
to activity and enterprise and prosperity. The miners of Nova Scotia 
took courage ; the manufacturing industries in our great centres revived 
and multiplied ; the farmer found a market for his produce ; the artisan 
and labourer employment at good wages, and all Canada rejoiced under 
the quickening impulse of a new-found life. The age of deficits was past, 
and an overflowing treasury gave to the Government the means of carry- 
ing forward those great works necessary to the realization of our purpose 
to make this country a homogeneous whole. 

To that end we undertook that stupendous work, the Canadian Pacific 
Railway, undeterred by the pessimistic views of our opponents ; nay, in 
spite of their strenuous and even malignant opposition, we pushed forward 
that great enterprise through the wilds north of Lake Superior, across the 
western prairies, over the Rocky Mountains, to the shore of the Pacific, 
with such inflexible resolution that in seven years after the assumption of 
office by the present Administration the dream of our public men was an 
accomplished fact, and I myself experienced the proud satisfaction of 
looking back from the steps of my car upon the Rocky Mountains fringing 
the eastern sky. 

The Canadian Pacific Railway now extends from ocean to ocean, 
opening up and developing the country at a marvellous rate, and forming an 
imperial highway to the east, over which the trade of the Indies is destined 
to reach the markets of Europe. We have subsidized steamship lines 
on both oceans— to Europe, China, Japan, Australia and the West 
Indies. We have spent millions on the extension and improvement of 
our canal system. We have, by liberal grants of subsidies, promoted 
the building of railways, now become an absolute necessity, until 
the whole country is covered as with a network ; and we have done 
all this with such prudence and caution that our credit in the money 
market of the world is higher to-day than it has ever been, and the rate of 
interest on our debt, which is the true measure of the public burdens, is 
less than it was when we took office in 1878. 

During all this time what has been the attitude of the Reform Party ? 
Vacillating in their policy and inconstancy itself. As regards their 
leaders, they have at least been consistent in this particular, that they 
have uniformly opposed every measure which had for its object the 



386 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

development of our common country. The National Policy was a failure 
before it had been tried. Under it we could not possibly raise a revenue 
sufficient for the public requirements. Time exposed that fallacy. Then, 
we were to pay more for the home manufactured article than we used to 
when we bought everything abroad. We were to be the prey of rings and 
monopolies, and the manufacturers were to extort their own prices. When 
these fears had been proved unfounded, we were assured that over-com- 
petition would inevitably prove the ruin of the manufacturing industries, 
and thus bring about a state of affairs worse than that which the National 
Policy had been designed to meet. It was the same with the Canadian 
Pacific Railway. The whole project, according to our opponents, was a 
chimera ; the engineering difficulties were insuperable ; the road, even if 
constructed, would never pay. Well, gentlemen, the project was feasible, 
the engineering difficulties were overcome, and the road does pay. 

Disappointed by the failure of all their predictions, and convinced 
that nothing is to be gained by further opposition on the old lines the 
Reform Party has taken a new departure, and has announced its policy 
to be unrestricted reciprocity ; that is (as defined by its author, Mr. 
Wiman, in the North American Review a few days ago), free trade with 
the United States, and a common tariff with the United States against 
the rest of the world. 

The adoption of this policy would involve, among other grave evils, 
discrimination against the mother country. This fact is admitted by no 
less a personage than Sir Richard Cartwright, who, in his speech at 
Pembroke on October 21, 1890, is reported to have said : “ Some men, 
whose opinions I respect, entertain objections to this (unrestricted 
reciprocity) proposition. They argue, and argue with force, that it will be 
necessary for us, if we enter into such an arrangement, to admit the goods 
of the United States on more favourable terms than those of the mother 
country. Nor do I deny that that is an objection, and not a light one.” 

It would, in my opinion, inevitably result in the annexation of this 
Dominion to the United States. The advocates of unrestricted reci- 
procity on this side of the line deny that it would have such an effect, 
though its friends in the United States urge as the chief reason for its 
adoption that unrestricted reciprocity would be the first step in the 
direction of political union. 

There is, however, one obvious consequence of this scheme which 
nobody has the hardihood to dispute, and that is that unrestricted reci- 
procity would necessitate the imposition of direct taxation, amounting to 
not less than fourteen millions of dollars annually, upon the people of this 
country. This fact is clearly set forth in a remarkable letter addressed a 
few days ago by Mr. E. W. Thomson — a Radical and Free Trader — to 
the Toronto Globe , on the staff of which paper he was lately an editorial 
writer, which the Globe , with characteristic unfairness, refused to publish, 
but which, nevertheless, reached the public through another source. Mr. 

Last Address to the Electors. 


Thomson points out with great clearness that the loss of customs revenue 
levied upon articles now entering this country from the United States, in 
the event of the adoption of the policy of unrestricted reciprocity, would 
amount to not less than seven millions of dollars annually. Moreover, 
this by no means represents the total loss to the revenue which the adop- 
tion of such a policy would entail. If American manufactures now 
compete favourably with British goods, despite an equal duty, what do 
you suppose would happen if the duty were removed from the American 
and retained or, as is very probable, increased on the British article ? 
Would not the inevitable result be a displacement of the duty-paying 
goods of the mother country by those of the United States ? And this 
would mean an additional loss to the revenue of many millions more. 

Electors of Canada, I appeal to you to consider well the full meaning 
of this proposition. You — I speak now more particularly to the people 
of this Province of Ontario — are already taxed directly for school pur- 
poses, for township purposes, for county purposes, while to the Provincial 
Government there is expressly given by the Constitution the right to 
impose direct taxation. This latter evil you have so far escaped, but as 
the material resources of the province diminish, as they are now diminish- 
ing, the Local Government will be driven to supplement its revenue 
derived from fixed sources by a direct tax. And is not this enough, think 
you, without your being called on by a Dominion tax gatherer with a 
yearly demand of fifteen dollars a family to meet the obligations of the 
Central Government ? Gentlemen, this is what unrestricted reciprocity 
involves. Do you like the prospect ? This is what we are opposing, and 
what we ask you to condemn by your votes. 

Under our present system a man may largely determine the amount 
of his contributions to the Dominion exchequer. The amount of the tax 
is always in proportion to his means. If he is rich and can afford to 
drink champagne, he has to pay a tax of $1.50 for every bottle he buys. 
If he he a poor man he contents himself with a cup of tea, on which 
there is no duty, and so on all through the list. If he is able to afford all 
manner of luxuries, he pays a large sum into the coffers of the Govern- 
ment. If he is a man of moderate means and able to enjoy an occasional 
luxury, he pays accordingly. If he is a poor man, his contributions to 
the treasury are reduced to a minimum. With direct taxation, no matter 
what may be the pecuniary position of the taxpayer — times may be hard ; 
crops may have failed ; sickness or other calamity may have fallen on the 
family — still the inexorable tax collector comes and exacts his tribute. 
Does not ours seem to be the more equitable plan ? It is the one under 
which we have lived and thrived, and to which the Government I lead 
proposes to adhere. 

I have pointed out to you a few of the material objections to this 
scheme of unrestricted reciprocity, to which Mr. Laurier and Sir Richard 
Cartwright have committed the Liberal party, but they are not the only 

388 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

objections, nor in my opinion are they the most vital. For a century and 
a half this country has grown and flourished under the protecting aegis of 
the British Crown. The gallant race who first bore to our shores the 
blessings of civilization passed, by an easy transition, from French to 
English rule, and now forms one of the most law-abiding portions of the 
community. These pioneers were speedily recruited by the advent of a 
loyal band of British subjects, who gave up everything that men most 
prize, and were content to begin life anew in the wilderness, rather than 
forego allegiance to their sovereign. To the descendants of these men 
and of the multitude of Englishmen, Irishmen and Scotchmen who emi- 
grated to Canada, that they might build up new homes without ceasing to 
be British subjects ; to you Canadians, I appeal, and I ask you what have 
you to gain by surrendering that which your fathers held most dear ? 
Under the broad folds of the Union Jack we enjoy the most ample liberty 
to govern ourselves as we please, and at the same time we participate in 
the advantages which flow from association with the mightiest Empire the 
world has ever seen. Not only are we free to manage our domestic con- 
cerns, but, practically, we possess the privilege of making our own 
treaties with foreign countries, and in our relations with the outside 
world we enjoy the prestige inspired by a consciousness of the fact that 
behind us towers the majesty of England. 

The question which you will shortly be called upon to determine 
resolves itself into this : shall we endanger our possesssion of the great 
heritage bequeathed to us by our fathers, and submit ourselves to 
direct taxation for the privilege of having our tariff fixed at Washington, 
with a prospect of ultimately becoming a portion of the American Union? 

I commend these issues to your determination, and to the judgment 
of the whole people of Canada, with an unclouded confidence that you 
will proclaim to the world your resolve to show yourselves not unworthy 
of the proud distinction that you enjoy— of being numbered among the 
most dutiful and loyal subjects of our beloved Queen. As for myself, my 
course is clear. A British subject I was born — a British subject I will die. 
With my utmost effort, with my latest breath, will I oppose the “ veiled 
treason ” which attempts, by sordid means and mercenary proffers, to 
lure our people from their allegiance. During my long public service of 
nearly half a century I have been true to my country and its best inter- 
ests, and I appeal with equal confidence to the men who have trusted 
me in the past, and to the young hope of the country, with whom rest its 
destinies for the future, to give me their united and strenuous aid in this 
my last effort for the unity of the Empire and the preservance of our 
commercial and political freedom. 

I remain, gentlemen, 

Your faithful servant, 

John A. Macdonald. 

Ottawa, February 7, 1891. 


Mr. Foster’s Address to his Constituents. 391 

The Finance Minister, the Honourable George Foster, in 
his address to the electors of Kings, gave his view of the 
meaning of unrestricted policy, and contrasted it with the 
policy of the Government. It puts in a smaller space and 
more comprehensive manner the opinions subsequently 
expressed by Mr. Blake in his letter of March 5th. 

“ The policy of the Government has been to assist in 
developing foreign markets for our natural and manufactured 
products, and to that end they have liberally subsidized lines 
of steamers to the West Indies, China and Japan, and the 
mother country. Proposals for reciprocity with the British 
West Indies have been made by myself in person, acting for 
the Government, and I have good grounds for believing that a 
large and profitable trade may be opened up with these 
islands for most of our natural and many of our manufactured 

“In its trade policy with the United States, the Government 
have always favoured a fair and just measure of reciprocity, 
and has made repeated propositions looking in that direction. 
Until lately, however, the United States have made no favour- 
able response. 

“ Now, however, in the course of diplomatic correspon- 
dence, the Government of that country, through its Secretary 
of State, has intimated its willingness to enter into a confer- 
ence upon this matter with the Dominion Government, and 
has declared its readiness to commence this conference after 
March 4th. 

“ The trade issue is the great issue in this contest, and it is 
of the utmost importance that each elector should have a 
clear idea of the points of difference between the two parties. 

“The Opposition declare for unrestricted reciprocity or 
commercial union with the United States. 

“ This means and can only mean : 

“ 1. That no tariff duties are to be levied on any products 
of either country passing into the other. 

“ 2. That Canada is to adopt the tariff of the United 
States, which is, on an average, twice as high as our own. 

“ 3. That we are virtually to give up the power of making 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

our own fiscal laws — a thing which no free people has yet 
been craven enough to do. 

“4. That the tariff of the United States is to apply to all 
British and foreign imports — that is, that while Canada 
admits United States imports free of duty, she must discrim- 
inate against Great Britain and the rest of the world, and 
virtually prohibit the great part of the imports which now 
come in therefrom. 

“ 5. That loss and ruin will result to our manufacturing 
industries, to our seaport towns, to our wholesale business, and, 
consequently, to our farmers. 

“ 6. That Canada will lose more than half her present 
revenue, which will have to be made up by direct taxation. I 
estimate the loss of revenue at $18,000,000 per year. The 
direct tax necessary to recoup this will be equivalent to $3.60 
per head, or $18 for each family of five. 

“ 7. That ultimately the bond which now unites us to the 
mother land will be severed, and that Canada will become 
a part of the United States. 

“ Please consider all that is involved in such a policy, and 
then contrast it with the policy of the present Government, 
which is : 

“ 1. To continue to develop home industries, and the agri- 
cultural, mineral and other resources of the country on the 
lines laid down since 1878. 

“2. To keep in our own hands the power of framing our 
own tariff according to our own necessities. 

“ 3. Not to discriminate against Great Britain — our mother 
land, and the great market for our products. 

“4. To raise, our revenue by indirect taxation on Customs 
and Excise, and not by direct taxation. 

“5. To meet the United States in a friendly way, and 
negotiate with them for a reciprocity arrangement on lines 
that shall be just and equitable, and in accord with the honour 
and best interests of Canada, so far as it can be done without 
infringing upon the lines above laid down.” 

The platform of the Liberals may be said to have been 
laid down on Wednesday, March 14, 1888, when Sir Richard 

The Platform of the Liberal Party. 


Cartwright closed an exhaustive and able speech by moving, 
as the new fiscal policy of the party, the following resolution : 

“ That it is highly desirable that the largest possible free- 
dom of commercial intercourse should obtain between the 
Dominion of Canada and the United States, and that it is 
expedient that all articles manufactured in, or the natural 
products of, either of the said countries should be admitted 
free of duty into the ports of the other (articles subject to 
duties of excise or of internal revenue alone expected). That 
it is further expedient that the Government of the Dominion 
should take steps at an early date to ascertain on what terms 
and conditions arrangements can be effected with the United 
States for the purpose of securing full and unrestricted 
reciprocity of trade therewith.” 

The leaders of the party did not seem to be united in 
their views of the policy as expressed in this motion. We 
find Sir Richard Cartwright addressing a large audience at 
the music hall at Oshawa, on February 9th in these words. 

“If the people wanted reciprocity they could get it, but 
only on the unrestricted lines which include natural and 
manufactured products. With unrestricted reciprocity there 
was almost no limit that could be assigned to the trade that 
would be built up with the States. For the last dozen years 
Canada had been simply marking time. No wonder the 
people were restless and discontented. There could be no 
reasonable doubt that when Canada came forward with a fair 
honest, and liberal proposition she would receive fair, honest, 
and liberal treatment from the States.” (Cheers). 

C. W. Scott asked : “ Does the Liberal party favour dis- 
crimination against Great Britain by admitting American 
manufactures free, and taxing the manufactures of Great 
Britain ? ” 

Sir Richard replied : “ Certainly we do. I will tell you 
why. We have a perfect right to manage our own tariff to 
suit us, the people of Canada. The interests of Canada 
demand that we should have unrestricted reciprocity with 
the States. We can only get it by taxing the goods of every 
country on the face of the earth except those of the States. 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

That is undoubtedly part of our policy. I am ready to prove 
that it is for the interest of Great Britain. Every English 
statesman knows that it is more in the interest of Great 
Britain to cultivate more friendly relations with the States 
than to preserve our miserable trade, hampered as it is by 
our protective tariff. Great Britain has to-day over $800,- 
000,000 invested in Canada. Her interest in this country 
as an investor is far larger than her interest in it as a trader. 
It is far better for her that we should be able to meet the 
interest on what we have borrowed than that our trade with her 
should be preserved. I am prepared to prove before any 
audience, either here or in Great Britain, that it is for the 
interest of England as well as of Canada that we should have 
a right to manage our own tariff and maintain our own agent 
at Washington, which we should have done long ago.” 

On the evening of the same day (February 9th) Mr. 
Mercier, the head of the Liberal Government of Quebec, 
addressed nearly 5,000 people in the Bonsecours market in 
Montreal, and thus explained his views : 

“It was not their desire to do anything rash. They must 
respect the rights of the manufacturers, but it was their duty 
to provide for the future. While respecting protection and 
the National Policy, they had to prepare for the future, so 
that the doors of the United States might be opened to the 
agricultural classes. While protesting their loyalty to the 
Queen and the British Crown, they were adverse to any 
barriers to their commerce. (Applause). They desired that 
when their farmers could not find a reasonable price for their 
xluce at home, they might have a free market in the 
United States ; in short, they wished for free communication 
as in the period from 1854 to 1866. They then had pros- 
perity and abundance of money, because the farmers were 
in a position to sell their agricultural products to the Ameri- 
cans. They now wished to remove the barriers that prevented 
them from doing so.” (Applause). 

Mr. Mackenzie, the old leader of the party, said “ I could 
never consent to the Zollverein policy (commercial union) for 
obvious reasons, but 1 cannot conceive why any one should 

The Platform of the Liberal Party. 


object to a favourable measure of reciprocal trade secured by 
treaty and not inimical to the interests of Great Britain as the 
heart of the Empire.” 

In 1870, while still in the position of leader, he expressed 
himself in these words : “ There is undoubtedly a very great 
desire for extended intercourse with the United States, and I 
am quite sure our people are prepared to discuss, in some 
substantial way that will have some productive result, any 
scheme which will be submitted by the United States. . . . 
Your scheme of a continental system has the merit of extreme 
simplicity, and also that of having had a trial in other coun- 
tries in Europe. I fear, however, that it would affect prejudi- 
cially our relations with the Empire, which, as at present 
constructed, I, in common with almost all Canadians, desire to 
see maintained. At the same time I am prepared to have the 
plan considered, and by anticipation to work out the probable 

Mr. Mowat, the Premier of Ontario, on several public 
occasions during the campaign signified his approval of the 
platform laid down by Mr. Laurier, but expressed his own and 
Mr. Mackenzie’s strong disapproval of commercial union or 
a Zollverein, and in stirring language, asserted the loyalty 
of himself and party to the British Crown. He condemned 
the National Policy and took a very favourable view of the 
benefits which would be conferred upon both countries by 
unrestricted reciprocity. 

Mr. Longley, Premier of Nova Scotia, was reported to 
have expressed himself in these words : “ Let no person be 
deceived, unrestricted reciprocity means that we will have to 
adopt the American tariff against Great Britain.” 

Mr. John Charlton, M.P., in his address to the farmers of 
Haldimand, said : “ The application of the principle between 
Canada and the United States would require that the two 
countries should have the same excise rates and the same 
tariff upon imports from all other countries ; that the revenue 
thus collected in both countries should be divided upon condi- 
tions to be hereafter arranged ; that the customs line between 
the two countries from ocean to ocean should be removed.” 

396 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

The Honourable L. H. Davies, of Prince Edward Island, 
another of the party leaders, is upon record as saying that the 
immediate consequences of keeping our present outside tariff, 
under free trade with the States “ would be that imports to 
the United States, instead of being carried to the great ports 
of the United States, would be taken to the States by way of 
Montreal. To this the States, whose people are not arrant 
fools, would never consent. An unrestricted reciprocity, 
although it would suit us as well as commercial union, was 
therefore impracticable.” 

On February 12th, the Honourable Wilfred Laurier leader 
of the Opposition, issued an address to the electors. In this, after 
objecting at length to the dissolution, he discussed Sir John’s 
manifesto, accepted the N.P. as the ground of contestation, took 
issue with the Prime Minister upon his statements of the benefits 
derived from that policy and arraigned the N.P. upon every 
claim made in its behalf. The policy of the Reform party he 
defined as “ absolute reciprocal freedom of trade between 
Canada and the United States,” and stated that “the advan- 
tages of that policy are placed upon the one consideration 
that the producing power was vastly in excess of its consuming 
power, and, as a consequence, the market of the neighbouring 
nation of 63,000,000 of kindred origin was the best market.’’ 
He denied Sir Richard Cartwright’s proposition that unre- 
stricted reciprocity meant discrimination against England or 
that the Canadian tariff would have to be assimilated to 
the American tariff. The loss of revenue that would follow 
he treats in an airy way as “ a far off hazy consequence to be 
pitted against an immediate result,” and to be met by a reduc- 
tion of expenditure and redistribution of taxation. The 
charge of “ veiled treason ” he considered a direct and 
unworthy appeal to passion and prejudice, and concluded by 
announcing that the trade question in the present contest 
must take the precedence of all others and pledging the 
Opposition to the solution of the same on the basis indicated 
by him. 

On February 17th Sir John Macdonald and Sir Charles 
Tupper addressed an immense meeting at Toronto. The 

The Toronto Meeting. 


latter gave an eloquent and elaborate history of the past 
twelve years, to which justice could only be done by giving his 
speech in its entirety. He was followed by Sir John who, 
after an able defence of his course as Prime-Minister, created 
a profound sensation by laying before the meeting a most 
treasonable document prepared by Mr. Farrar, editor of the 
Globe. The following description of the meeting is taken from 
the Empire of February 18th : 

“ There have been many magnificent meetings in Toronto in 
election contests past, but there has never been one to 
approach the Conservative gathering of last night in the 
Academy of Music, when the electors of the Queen City 
turned out in thousands to welcome Canada’s great and only 
Premier, and thebeloved chieftain of her loyal citizens. It is 
safe to say that it was the greatest political meeting ever held 
in Canada. Occurring at the height of a most eventful cam- 
paign, marked not merely by the presence of the Premier, but 
also by the assistance of his long-tried and brilliant colleague, 
Sir Charles Tupper and signalized by two of the grandest utter- 
ances ever made before a Canadian public, the meeting was 
one that will exist without a peer in the political history 
of the Dominion. 

“ As was expected, the gathering was of such stupendous 
proportions that all attempts to accommodate the numbers 
were practically useless. As the throng from office and work- 
shop were returning home at six o’clock they encountered on 
the principal thoroughfares a stream of people already flocking 
town wards. The street cars, even at this early hour, were 
jammed. Admittance to the Academy commenced a few 
minutes after six o’clock, when the supporters of Conserva- 
tism, who had been fortunate enough to obtain tickets, were 
admitted by the stage door. That narrow entrance was not 
even then found equal to the press, and recourse was had to a 
rear door off Dorset street that led to the basement. At 6.30 
the theatre was partially filled, while outside was an immense 
throng awaiting admittance. A mass of men and women 
surged and crowded against the main doors, bearing down 
every obstacle in their way. Police were powerless to make 

398 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

any orderly arrangement for admittance. Shortly after seven 
o’clock the main doors were opened, the waiting crowd entered 
with a rush and a shout, and in a few seconds the whole 
building was completely filled. It was then discovered how 
small a fraction of the multitude were accommodated within 
the building. What could be done was done. Every available 
inch of room was occupied. With the additional chairs 2,000 
were seated in the theatre, 300 were crowded on the stage, and 
fully 1,000 more were jammed in passages and spaces behind 
the seats. There were nearly 4,000 inside, but outside there 
was a mass that numbered between 15,000 and 20,000. At 
7.20 every entrance to the building had to be closed, still 
the crowd outside surged and jostled in good nature. In the 
press the large gas lamp in front of the theatre was carried 
away, and the rupture in the gas main interfered with the gas 
inside the theatre, rendering necessary the use of electricity. 

“ At 7.35 two carriages drove up in front of the theatre, the 
first containing Sir John Macdonald, Mr. W. R. Brock, chair- 
man of the meeting, Col. Fred. C. Denison, and two members 
of the reception committee of the Young Mens’ Liberal Con- 
servative Club. Between the pavement and the stage entrance 
a solid mass of humanity was wedged, rendering admittance 
almost impossible. Appeals were made to the crowd to clear 
an opening for the chieftain, but so dense was the force for 
yards on either side that an opening was nearly a physical 
impossibility. At length, after waiting nearly ten minutes, 
during which many demands for a speech were made from Sir 
John, the chieftain and Mr. Brock managed to make their 
way to the door and to enter the theatre. A few minutes later 
and the Premier stood on the platform, surrounded by a sea 
of cheering, shouting faces, that could find no way adequately 
to express their enthusiasm. Whirlwind after whirlwind of 
applause and cheers shook the building. Hats, handkerchiefs, 
flag’s were waved in indescribable enthusiasm. When the 
audience were tired of cheering they sang ‘ For He’s a Jolly 
Good Fellow.’ It was fully ten minutes before the multitude 
had given vent to their magnificent welcome to the Premier. 
Nothing could better prove the secure position the noble 

The Toronto Meeting. 


chieftain occupies to-day. Premier of the Dominion, he is 
premier also of the hearts of his fellow-countrymen. When 
the ovation had at length temporarily ceased, Mr. W. R. Brock, 
who fulfilled his duties as chairman in a conspicuously able 
manner, rose to open the meeting, only to be interrupted by 
the entrance of Sir Charles Tupper, which was the signal for 
another magnificent ovation of enthusiasm and applause. 

“ The emblems placed around the theatre added a bright 
and instructive aspect to the scene. As a background to the 
stage, crowded with its influential auditors, were the mottoes : 
‘Hail to Our Chieftain/ and ‘No United States Senators 
Need Apply ’ ; while appropriately hung between these scrolls 
were three shields with the words, ‘ The Old Flag/ ‘ The Old 
Leader/ ‘ The Old Policy.’ The stage pillars and boxes were 
adorned with the mottoes : ‘ God Save the Queen/ ‘ Disloyalty 
is at a Discount/ ‘Welcome to the Cabinet/ ‘Progressive 
Legislation/ ‘We Welcome Our Leaders/ ‘Encourage Home 
Talent/ ‘ Canadian Labour for the Canadians.’ The railing of 
the balcony was covered with these bannerets : ‘ Ottawa, Not 
Washington, Our Capital/ ‘Canada for the Canadians/ 
‘Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince 
Edward Island, Manitoba, British Columbia, N. W. Terri- 
tories — A Noble Heritage/ ‘ A Fair Measure of Reciprocity/ 
‘ No Tariff Discrimination Against Great Britain.’ 

“ The stupendous crowd of 20,000 men and women who 
thronged King street, between York and Simcoe, completely 
baffled every effort of control. They were there. There was 
not an inch of room inside the building, yet they were loth to 
leave, and remained jostling and shoving around the doors 
until after nine o’clock. Although the magnitude of the mul- 
titude inside was great, the floor committee of the Young 
Liberal-Conservatives worked nobly in endeavouring to handle 
the throng in the pit and on the platform. 

Mr. Coatsworth first addressed the meeting and was 
followed by Sir Charles Tupper, who made one of the most 
brilliant speeches of his life, and was rewarded by the hearty 
applause of a very appreciative audience, which lasted for some 
minutes after he had resumed his seat. The chairman, Mr. 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

W. R. Brock, after restoring order, then addressed the 
assemblage of citizens in these words : “ Ladies and gentle- 
men, — I want to say one word to this vast audience. We 
all admire the Premier of Canada. (Loud cheers). We all 
respect the Right Honourable Sir John Macdonald, and the 
Liberal Conservatives love John A. (Vociferious cheers). 

At this juncture the old man stood up, and as, in the 
fulness of his years, he leaned slightly forward there was a 
sudden outburst from the audience that fairly shook the 
building from its vaulted roof to its foundations. The entire 
gathering rose and yelled. Handkerchiefs, hats, umbrellas, 
walkingsticks, programmes, and in fact everything within 
reach, were waved by the audience. The enthusiastic uproar 
was deafening. The grand old hero stood there motionless 
as his heart throbbed within his honoured breast. This was 
one of the rewards that fall to the lot of a man who has 
spent his whole life labouring for the benefit of his race. It 
was a proud minute for Sir John. The first words he uttered 
after silence had been restored showed that, during the few 
minutes of cheering, his memory had carried him back to 
younger days when he himself was a citizen of Toronto. 
When the cheering had subsided, someone shouted : 

“ For he’s a jolly good fellow.” 

It’s a question whether any Canadian was ever before 
honoured by that whole hearted song in such a style. The 
words came from nearly every throat, and the soprano voices 
intermingling showed that the ladies were doing their share 
to honour one of the greatest statesmen of modern times. 

From enthusiastic cheering there followed a breathless 
silence as the father of Canada addressed the audience. This 
address, as a matter of course, dealt in a fuller form with 
the questions brought forward in his manifesto, and we will, 
therefore, not repeat them but pass on to the Farrer incident. 

“ How could we expect to make a reasonable treaty with 
the United States when these gentlemen of the Liberal party 
W ere — to use a phrase that may be used by some of you, 
although I don’t use it myself — going one better? (Cheers 
and laughter). We said we must have control of our own 

The Farrer Pamphlet. 


tariff, but they said this is a matter of agreement, and we 
will come and adopt the tariff. Of course, a tariff once 
adopted, that tariff can only be altered by the Congress of 
the United States and the Parliament of Canada. The 
United States Congress represents 66,000,000 and our Parlia- 
ment represents 5,000,000 to 6,000,000. The United States 
is the stronger, and they would wag us, or otherwise the tail 
would wag the dog, you know. (Laughter and cheers). 

“ Well, Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, the con- 
spiracy has been going on and I take the full responsibility 
of making this statement, that there is a deliberate attempt 
to induce the United States to favour the present Opposition 
against the present Government, by holding out to them 
hopes of annexation. How am I to prove that, you will say. 
Well, I will tell you how. As you know, the Globe is the 
Bible of the Sir Richard Cartwright branch of the Liberals.” 

Sir John here gave an account of the transfer of Mr. 
Farrer from the Mail to the Globe and continued : “ Since 
then Mr. Farrer has been the ambassador between the Globe 
or Sir Richard Cartwright and Washington. Now, a loyal 
man brought it to the notice of a member of the Government 
that this Mr. Farrer, — with his own hand — had prepared a 
document for the purpose, to be used in the United States. 
I will read to you the last paragraph of that paper, and you 
will see the charge that I make, that all this negotiation at 
Washington is merely leading up to a result which they con- 
sider inevitable — the result being the annexation of Canada 
to the United States. (Hear, hear). 

“ This documents tells the Americans how they are to 
force Canada — ‘You are to grant them nothing; you are 
‘ to try to stop the bonding system ; you are to put a tax 
‘ on everything that Canada produces.’ In fact, the document 
points out every possible way in which Canada and its trade 
can be injured and its people impoverished, with the view 
of eventually bringing about annexation. The writer pays 
me a great compliment. He says annexation cannot make 
great progress as long as I am at the head of affairs. (Hear, 
hear, and cheers). But then, he says, I am seventy-five years 




The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

old. (Laughter). Now, gentlemen, you laugh at their 
attempts to bulldoze us into this position, and I am inclined 
to laugh myself sometimes ; but this document shows that 
there is a treasonable conspiracy in Canada — (Hear, hear) — 
and it is a treason that is to be met by every man, no matter 
what his proclivities may be, no matter whether he reckons 
himself a Liberal or a Conservative, a Conservative Liberal 
or a Liberal Conservative ; so long as he is a British subject, 
every man who feels his obligation as a Canadian will visit — 
J ;was going to say with his vengeance — with his righteous 
indignation any party that would be guilty, directly or indi- 
rectly, of a conspiracy of this kind. 

“ I know the responsibility of what I am saying ; but I 
will read you the document, and I think you will say that I 
am justified in characterizing it as I do. It is a rather long 
document, and I will read its concluding paragraph, which 
alludes particularly to the fisheries of the Maritime Provinces, 
as the feature in which Canada can most easily be hurt. 
What I shall read is a copy taken from the original galleys 
and printed from the types of Hunter, Rose & Co.; and I 
have got the original. 

“ ‘ A word in conclusion about the situation in the maritime 
‘ provinces. Outside of Halifax, the people, as a body, are 
‘well disposed towards the United States. The fishermen’s 
‘ phrase, that they should like “ to see Gloucester moved east,” 
c in order that they might enjoy higher wages, commends 
‘itself to the majority. Sir John Macdonald secures the 
‘election of a Tory majority from Nova Scotia only by a 
‘ system of largesse and corruption carried on without attempt 
‘ at concealment. A constituency which returns an Opposi- 
tion member is forthwith excluded from sharing in the rail- 
‘ way subsidies and other appropriations lavished on the rest. 
‘The fishermen have a saying that a Nova Scotia member 
‘ on the wrong side at Ottawa is “ a spare pump in a dry ship.” 
‘ In Prince Edward Island, where it is impossible to spend 
‘ public money except on a few wharves and lighthouses, the 
‘people return a solid Liberal contingent to Ottawa. The 
‘ islanders are exceedingly friendly to the Americans, and it 

The Farrer Pamphlet. 

4 C 3 

4 is said by one who knows the state of feeling there, that 
‘ fully seventy per cent, of them would vote for full reci- 
4 procity or for annexation, provided the question were sub- 
■‘ mitted to them free from any entangling issues of a local 
‘character, and that the Ottawa Government abstained from 
‘the use of bribery. It is felt by all that Sir John’s methods 
‘ of reconciling these provinces to the vast economic loss they 
‘ sustain from being severed from their natural market in New 
‘ England, cannot survive the man himself. No one else 
‘could employ them with equal skill or success. He is now 
‘ seventy-five years old. 

“ ‘ The fishery question owes its existence, not to the 
‘ people, but to the fish merchants and vessel owners. The 
‘ traders in other lines would be glad to see the widest privi- 
4 leges extended to the Americans, whose custom was once, 
‘ and might be again, an important factor in the business of 
‘ the provinces, more especially since the decay of the inshore 
‘ fisheries has rendered it all the more essential that the coast 
‘ population should be permitted to resume their former 
‘ relations with the visitors. The influence of the fish mer- 
‘ chants is far reaching. They control the newspapers, and 
‘ to some extent the politics of the province. The headland 
‘ question, the dispute over the right of Americans to enter 
‘the Bay of Fundy, which was terminated by the arbitration 
‘ in the case of the vessel Washington , and other points of 
‘ controversy, were all pressed by them in the hope, to which 
‘ they still cling, of being able to force Congress into yielding 
‘ free fish. If their minds could be disabused of this notion, 
‘ and they were made to see that free fish was not procurable 
‘ through coercion, we should soon hear the last of the cry 
‘ that to grant commercial privileges to the Americans would 
‘ be to surrender an invaluable franchise. 

“‘The imposition by the United States of a tonnage tax on 
‘ all Nova Scotia vessels laden whole or in part with fish, would 
‘speedily put an end to seizures and, indeed, to the whole 
‘controversy. Another ready way of bringing the Govern- 
‘ ment and all concerned to their senses, would be to suspend 
‘the bonding privilege, or to cut the connection of the Cana- 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

‘dian Pacific with United States territory at Sault Ste. Marie. 
‘ Either of these methods would rouse the full force of western 
‘Canada influence against the Government. It would be 
‘ better still to oblige Britain to withdraw her countenance 
‘ and support from the Canadian contention, as she did in 
‘ 1871. That would secure the end desired without leaving 
‘the United States open to the charge of being animated 
‘ by hatred of Canada, on which Sir John Macdonald trades. 

“‘ Whatever course the United States may see fit to adopt 
‘ it is plain that Sir John’s disappearance from the stage is to 
‘ be the signal for a movement towards annexation. The 
‘ enormous debt of the Dominion ($50 per head), the virtual 
‘ bankruptcy of all the provinces except Ontario, the pressure 
‘ of the American tariff upon trade and industry, the incurable 
‘ issue of race, and the action of the natural forces making for 
‘ the consolidation of the lesser country with the greater have 
‘ already prepared the minds of most intelligent Canadians for 
‘ the destiny that awaits them ; and a leader will be forth- 
‘ coming when the hour arrives.’ 

“ I think you will agree with me that there is somewhere 
and among some people a conspiracy to drive Canada into 
the arms of the United States, by inducing the United States 
to be as obstructive as possible and as annoying as possible to 
this country. The abolition of the bonding privilege, under 
which we have free intercourse, and every device that can 
possibly hurt Canada, is suggested in this paper ; and we are 
told that all the intelligent people of Canada think so ; that 
these things must bring about annexation, and that the leader 
will be found when that time comes. Gentlemen, that is the 
position we have to face in Canada at the present time. Here 
we have a Government and a people, and I believe an 
electorate, as will be shown in a few days, that fully values the 
privileges we have got, that believe we will be losers and not 
gainers by such a union, and we believe that we have enjoyed 
as great an amount of freedom as any country in the world. 

“ I believe that we are as happily constituted as any coun- 
try under the sun, believing that here there is social freedom, 
there is individual freedom, there is political freedom, and 

Canada’s Advantages. 


there is an absence of those disintegrated and treasonable 
qualities which threatened the peace and prosperity of the 
country. We have no such questions as the negro question, 
which was looming up so disastrously in the United States, to 
bother us ; we have no large nuclei assemblage of foreign 
anarchists ; you saw what they did at Chicago a while ago. 
We have no such thing as elected judges, where the people 
elect men who will decide according to the wishes of the 
majority. We look up to England and to English tradition 
for our guidance ; we have everything to lose, much more 
than wealth, much more than money’s worth, we have every- 
thing to lose in being severed from England; we have everything 
to gain by the benign influence of Her Majesty’s Government, 
a free Queen over a free people, but governed by principles of 
religion, by principles of equality and by principles of morality 
which a democracy never had and never will have. (Applause). 
And will the people of Canada submit to such a thing ; will 
they submit to men going off to a foreign country, aye, and 
raising money for the purpose of driving the people into 
annexation ? 

“ I have no idea that the people of Canada will do that. 
Why, Mr. Chairman, look at the fate of Poland. Poland a free 
country, a gallant people, a great people, the greatest soldiers 
in the world, one of the finest races in the world ; that country 
was finally conquered by corruption. The people rose in arms, 
and under their great general they fought against enormous 
odds, but at last they were overcome, and when the gallant 
Pole fell on the field of battle his last words were, ‘ Finis 
Polina’ — that is, ‘the last of Poland.’ Now, we will not 
have war just yet, but, if we submit to this kind of foreign 
intervention, if we allow American millionaires or speculators 
to come into this country, to be traitors among our ranks, to 
spend foreign gold for the purpose of buying up our people, 
‘ why, then we can say like the Polish general, ‘ Finis Canadia ’ 
— this is, ‘ the end of Canada.’ But there is no fear of that 
(No, no). But if it should happen that we should be absorbed 
in the United States, the name of Canada would be literally 
forgotten ; we would have the State of Ontario, State of 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

Quebec, and State of Nova Scotia, and State of New Bruns- 
wick ; every one of the provinces would be a state ; but where 
is the grand, the glorious name of Canada which we now have 
in one, and which we are now so proud of? It would, indeed, 
be this in the end. 

“ All I can say is that not with me, or not by the action of 
my friends, or not by the action of the people of Canada, will 
such a disaster come upon us. I believe that this election, 
which is a great crisis, and upon which so much depends, will 
show to the Americans that we prize our country as much as 
they do, that we would fight for our existence as much as they 
fought for the preservation of their independence. (Hear, 
hear). That the spirit of our fathers, which fought and won 
battle after battle, still exists in their sons ; and if I thought it 
was otherwise, I would say the sooner the grass was growing 
over my grave the better, rather than that I should see the 
degradation of the country which I have loved so much, and 
which I have served so long.” (Loud and prolonged ap- 

After the Premier had resumed his seat, and the cheering 
had. subsided the entire audience sang “ God Save the Queen.” 
The gathering dispersed after three cheers for Sir John and 
Sir Charles. 

After the meeting the grand old man held an informal 
reception on the platform. 

Those who had thought that the greatest statesman of the 
continent was yielding at all to the advance of years, were 
agreeably surprised. As the great chieftain stood before the 
admiring gathering his eye glistened with all its wonted fire 
and acuteness, his voice rolled out distinctly, emphasized by 
that appealing stress that age alone can give. His speech 
possessed the same wonderful force of statement as ever, and 
was adorned with the same pointed allusion and anecdotes. 
The inspiration of his words seemed greater than ever before, 
as he made a great and stirring appeal to the people of Canada 
to preserve their country for themselves and for the glorious 
empire, and not to hand so fair a heritage over to an alien 
nation. Old Conservatives who have heard Sir John in every 


( Shewing Sir John's Desk and Chair Draped. ) 

Grace Fenton’s Description of Meeting. 409 

campaign for nearly the last half century said that his speech 
was one of the greatest he had ever made. 

How feelingly, how gracefully, how sweetly, did Grace 
Fenton describe that meeting months afterwards, when the 
loved leader lay dying, as the result qf his over-exertions in 
that last campaign : 

‘ It seemed as though a premonition of this evil day 
touched lightly the hearts of that vast audience, for never 
have I heard a welcome so thrilling as that accorded to the 
Premier. It broke in great waves over the house, falling and 
rising again and again, spontaneous, irrepressible, magnetic ; 
and through the volume of sound poured a certain vibrant 
note that told of something deeper than mere outward good- 
will. It was a note of tenderness ; it was as though the very 
hearts of the people had leaped into their throats and thrilled 
into welcome. 

“ And I think he who has been the hero of a thousand 
enthusiasms felt the warmth and sympathy of this his last 
Toronto greeting, and was touched and cheered thereby. 

“ The fur overcoat he loved to wear lay thrown across the 
back of the easy chair from which he had risen ; a cluster of 
roses drooped near by, the light flashing through a glass water 
ewer sent scintillating sparkles across his face, a little pale 
and weary with fatigue, and his words dropped into stillness 
— the intense stillness of a vast audience. 

“ How he has loved his country, how he has worked for it, 
sparing nothing of personal sacrifice, that he might accomplish 
its welfare. Loyal always, faithful always, fighting all 
detraction with a happy optimism that worked its own reali- 

“ And now that he is resting, oh mothers of Canada, let us 
teach our sons to carry on the labour in the spirit of loyalty 
with which he has imbued ! 

“ And if it be that dark days come, when patriotism pale or 
honour falter, let his be the name to conjure with, whose 
magic shall stir our hearts and strengthen our hands.” 

On the day after their great reception at Toronto, Sir John 
Macdonald and Sir Charles Tupper left for Hamilton. Crowds 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

of people assembled at the stations along the way anxious to 
see the distinguished statesmen. As the train approached 
each place long and loud welcoming cheers were sent up, 
handkerchiefs were enthusiastically waived and men tried to 
climb over each other to grasp them by the hand. When the 
city of Hamilton was reached another splendid demonstration 
awaited them. The platform was thronged with people who 
cheered vociferously when Sir John and Sir Charles stepped 
out off the car. As the carriages drove through the streets the 
busy crowds along the way stopped to cheer and waive their 
hats. Flags were flying everywhere from big buildings and 
factories. All was, however, but a faint indication of the 
tremendous demonstration prepared for the evening, of which 
the following description is taken from the Empire : 

“ Before it had yet become dark the pretty central city 
park, the Gore, famous all over the Dominion, was lighted up 
with innumerable and various coloured gas lamps. The effect 
was magnificent* particularly when the wide and handsome 
thoroughfare, King Street, gradually became packed with the 
marshalling hosts of a mammoth procession. Column after 
column of torchlighted forces wheeled into line from the 
neighbouring streets. Prancing horses and caravans of all 
descriptions bearing transparencies of political portent, fol- 
lowed. Drays and pleasure vans carrying the cheering and 
happy employees of the prosperous manufactories of the city 
swept past the multitude. They marched and countermarched; 
they played and they tooted their horns ; they cheered and 
they shouted till the listening spheres paid back the great 
acclaim. But this was not sufficient. Fireworks were started, 
and a first-class line of fireworks they were. This kept up for 
an hour and a half. There were not less than 30,000 people 
out on the streets, and it may be added that no city in the 
world could turn out people more orderly, good humoured or 
better dressed. Hamilton did credit to Canada and to her 
citizens. That was the object of the great demonstration and 
it was demonstrated beyond doubt or question. 

“ When the marshal had brought affairs to an orderly 
termination in the vicinity of the park and got their torches 

The Hamilton Meeting. 


into marching order, it could be seen at a glance that the 
finest political procession ever organized in this country was 
under way. As far as the eye could reach the darkness of 
night was pierced by the light of myriads of torches, and an 
incessant discharge of Roman candles and rockets illuminated 
the line of march. Ten bands headed that number of detach- 
ments of the industrial army which marched in their rear, 
proud to have the opportunity of doing honour to the grand 
old chieftain whose policy had fostered the industries which 
gave them employment. Numerous transparencies, bearing 
appropriate mottoes, were carried on lorries or borne on the 
shoulders of the processionists. 

“ The meeting held in the Palace Rink was gigantic in its 
dimensions. The building is seated to accommodate 2,500, 
but as almost all the seats had been reserved for the ladies, 
2,000 of the intellectual voters of the city had to find standing 
room as best they could. The building was filled up before 
seven o’clock, although the meeting did not open till after 
eight. Thousands were crowding around the building during 
the interval preceding the arrival of Sir John Macdonald. The 
police arrangements for admitting by private entrance only 
those who had tickets, were perfect, and contributed in a great 
measure to the orderly manner in which the people were able 
to gain admission. Both inside and out the immense assemb- 
lage of people was remarkable for orderliness. Enthusiasm, 
of course, ran high, in fact nothing could excel it. The hall 
was decorated profusely with British and Canadian flags. 
The back of the platform was covered with an immense Union 

“ When Sir John entered there was an outburst of enthusi- 
asm which, for its magnificence, was not even excelled by the 
ovation which the grand old chief received in the city of 
Toronto. The ladies stood up and waived their handkerchiefs 
and cheered with all the power of their voices, while the way£ 
that rolled from the back portion of the hall seemed as if it 
would lift the roof off. , 

“It was a happy thought which made provision in the 
Arcade Hall for an overflow meeting. It gave opportunity 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

for a fraction, at least, of the people who could not obtain 
admittance to the Palace Rink, to hear Sir John and Sir 
Charles. Doors opening on the Arcade from James Street 
were guarded by policemen, and kept closed until the proces- 
sion was over, by which time an immense and impatient 
concourse had gathered on the street waiting for admission, 
and when the doors were opened so tremendous was the rush 
that the front and side windows of the Globe office were 
smashed to pieces by the surging crowds. In five minutes 
the hall was packed to suffocation. The wide cornice even 
was climbed upon by large numbers of adventurous young 
men who were unable to obtain room for their feet upon the 
floor of the hall. Such an ovation as Sir Charles Tupper and 
party received upon entering the hall, and later in the evening 
the veteran Premier and his body guard, it is no exaggeration 
to say, has never before been tendered to any men, politicians 
or otherwise, in Hamilton, not excepting even the demonstra- 
tive welcome extended the same gentlemen in 1878. When 
Sir Charles entered the hall the assemblage stood up and 
yelled itself hoarse, and the war horse of Cumberland advanced 
to the platform between ranks of most enthusiastic supporters 
who welcomed the honoured patriot. When the enthusiasm 
had subsided sufficiently for J. W. Nesbitt, Q.C., to be heard, 
that gentleman made a few introductory remarks, burning 
with patriotic fervour, and introduced Sir Charles to the 
audience. Never did statesman address an audience more 
perfectly in accord with the sentiments eloquently expressed 
than the one Sir Charles faced. Each patriotic utterance was 
received with loud acclaim in token of read) 7 acquiescence, 
while every reference to the traitorous designs of our political 
opponents was followed by correspondingly vigorous demon- 
strations of disapproval. 

“ Sir Charles had not completed his brilliant address when 
Sir John, accompanied by Senator Sanford, A. McKay, M.P., 
T. H. Stinson and Alexander Turner, entered the hall. The 
assemblage could not be restrained and the speaker had to 
discontinue while the veteran chieftain made his way to the 

The London Meeting. 


“If the crowd had been excited before, the appearance of 
Sir John caused it to go wild with enthusiasm. It seemed as 
though the cheering and waving of hats and handkerchiefs would 
never cease. Ladies were as enthusiastic as men, and if they 
did not succeed in displaying it to the same degree, it was not 
for the lack of will, but because of less vigorous lung power. 

“Sir John having rested sufficiently after his lengthy 
effort at the Palace Rink, addressed the Arcade audience. 
Although pleading fatigue at the commencement as a reason 
for the intention to make a brief speech, the aged chieftain 
warmed up to his subject as he progressed and spoke for 
about three-quarters of an hour.” 

The next day Sir John and Charles Tupper went on 
to London where the people were described as simply wild 
with excitement. In the evening they addressed another 
monster assemblage of people, the following description of 
which is taken from a private letter : 

“ A portion of the Drill Hall, where the meeting was held, 
was apportioned to the ladies, no gentlemen allowed in. In 
the rest of the hall the general public could fight it out for 
breathing room. Seats had been provided for 4,800. The 
hall was full before six o’clock. The torchlight procession did 
not start from Sir John’s car until a quarter to eight. Can you 
imagine the hall after the procession arrived? Hundreds 
pushing and yelling like madmen to get into a place already 
packed. Sardines in a box are comfortable compared with 
that jam. When Sir John rose to speak, a large Union Jack, 
about three feet long by two feet wide, made of flowers, the 
same on both sides, attached to a staff about six feet high 
covered with smilax, was presented to him — a gift from the 
‘loyal Conservative ladies of London.’ It was very beautiful ; 
the ensign on one side was all geraniums, the reverse side 
carnations, and the Jack in the corner made of flowers of the 
proper colour. The ladies attended in force, all armed with 
small flags, which they waved like crazy children, until the 
excitement was so great that many of them stood upon their 
chairs and joined in the cheering of the crowd behind them. 
Sir Charles told me yesterday morning that of all the meetings 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

he had ever attended he had never seen such a grand and 
enthusiastic one. The streets were running with water and 
slush, and it was raining hard, but the crowd did not seem to 
know it, and they waded through everything with apparent 

Among the signs displayed on the walls of the drill-shed 
were the following : 

“Welcome to Sir John, Canada’s Greatest Statesman.” 

“ Canada for the Canadians.” 

“Sir John, You Can Trust London to Send You Back Honest John 


“The Old Policy, the Old Flag, the Old Leader.” 

“ Canada Shall Not Be Governed by Washington.’ 

“ London Will Not Favour Annexation.” 

“We Will Preserve the Farmer’s Home Market.” 

“No Sympathy With Treachery or Treason in London.” 

“ Welcome to Sir Charles, Who Thrice Saved the Canadian Cattle 


“ This, My Last Effort, for the Unity of the Empire.” 
“Canada’s Noble Heritage Will Not Be Sold For a Mess of Pottage.” 
“ No U. S. Senators Need Apply.” 

“No Discrimination Against Great Britain.” 

At the close of the meeting the great procession was 
re-formed, and, accompanied by the Seventh Fusiliers band 
and the Forest City band, escorted the carriages of Sir John 
and his party back to the Tecumseh house. This procession 
along the streets at 12.30 o’clock, with thousands of exuberant 
citizens on the way-side, was the crowning feature of one 
of the grandest political gatherings ever held in the city of 

The following day, Saturday, Sir John made a marvellous 
effort for a man of his years. In the morning he spoke at 
Stratford. At one o’clock in the afternoon he made an 
address of nearly an hour at St. Mary’s. He spoke briefly at 
Guelph, and arrived in Brampton about seven. Here he spoke 
for fifty minutes in support of Mr. W. A. McCulla. His voice 
was hoarse, but when he warmed up to the subject he spoke 

The Kingston Meeting. 


with vigour and roused great enthusiasm. He arrived in 
Toronto about ten Saturday night, going at once to the 
Queen’s, where he enjoyed a well-earned rest. 

In the early part of the following week Sir John Mac- 
donald proceeded to his old home, Kingston, and on the 
evening of February 24th, addressed the greatest political 
gathering ever held in that city, which was thus described by 
the Daily News. 

“It began to rain about five o’clock, after which a windstorm 
arose and blew violently for some time. Towards evening the 
rain came down harder, and later the night became very dark, 
so black that it was feared the inclement weather would have 
an effect upon the welcome to Sir John Macdonald, but 
it didn’t, as the facts will show. The meeting was announced 
to take place at eight o’clock, but as early as 6.30 crowds 
began to collect in front of Martin’s Opera House. It kept 
increasing rapidly, and ten minutes later the doors could not 
stand the test, the crossbar was pressed from its fastenings, 
and, the door yielding to the pressure, the crowd rushed in. 
At seven o’clock the house was crowded, even the standing 
room being occupied. Such an early crowding of the hall was 
never known before. The manager of the opera house says he 
never experienced the like. Many ladies called at the opera 
house during the day and asked if they could have seats 
reserved. The hint was taken, and soon the large stage was 
cleared of its scenery and seats were secured from other halls 
sufficient to seat 350 ladies. They were admitted by a back 
door, and so eager were they to gain admittance that by 7.15 
the stage was crowded by them also. At 7.30 the ways 
leading to the opera house were jammed, and people were 
again gathering on the streets. 

“ The immense audience which crowded every available part 
of the house — from the upper gallery to the orchestra seats, 
and even the fly galleries above the stage — represented all 
classes and creeds, and was most enthusiastic throughout the 

“ Many hundreds were turned away, unable to gain 

4i 6 

The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

The next day Sir John proceeded to Napanee and there 
addressed a large meeting characterized by the same hearty 
enthusiasm with which he had been everywhere received in 
his triumphal tour since the Toronto meeting, and was 
presented with an address. 

On his return he received from England a most compli- 
mentary resolution from the Primrose League, which afforded 
another evidence that, while he possessed the confidence of 
the people of Canada, he also held and increased the warm 
regard and appreciation of those in the mother country, who 
had followed his long patriotic career. The address was as 
follows : 

To Sir John Macdonald , Premier of Canada : 

We, as loyal subjects of our Queen and supporters of the British 
Empire, send you warmest greetings and heartfelt thanks for the patriotic 
stand you have so nobly made in defence of the maintenance of the 
Empire ; and, although for the time being, dangers may menace that 
unity between Canada and the mother country, we feel that the patriotism of 
our fellow-countrymen in Canada will not allow them to swerve from their 
duty to the heritage of glory handed down to them in trust for posterity, 
but that they, like ourselves in the Old Country, will fight shoulder to 
shoulder against that veiled treason which has for its object the disinte- 
gration and dismemberment of our Empire, which has stood immovable 
amid the ages of man and the downfall of nations. 

We feel sure that the energy of character, skill, daring and indomit- 
able valour exercised by our forefathers in England and the colonies will 
stimulate us, whether in Canada or in England, to rally round the flag of 
our Empire, upon whose dominions the sun ne’er sets, under whose folds 
have been developed a degree of national felicity and comfort more rich 
and uninterrupted than has ever been enjoyed by any other empire in the 
world’s history. 

We feel satisfied that with such guides as yourself the future of our 
Empire is safe, and its progress secure. We therefore pray that your 
valuable life may be long spared to still carry out your noble work in 
defence of our national principles of empire and liberty. 

Signed on behalf of the members of the Clarendon Habitation (No. 
1642) of the Primrose League, in public meeting assembled. 

J. W. D. Barron. 

President and Chairman of the Meeting. 

Hyde, Cheshire, England, 

Tuesday , February 77, i 8 gi. 

The Farrer-Wiman-Hitt Correspondence. 417 

When Sir John Macdonald went eastward to Kingston, 
Sir Charles Tnpper went westward to Windsor, where he 
received a demonstration that for numbers and enthusiasm 
was not excelled in the election campaign. The meeting was 
held in the Essex Music Hall which was jammed to the doors. 
In a speech of great power and earnestness Sir Charles dealt 
with the questions of the day, and added to the sensation 
caused by Sir John Macdonald’s speech at Toronto by giving 
still further evidence of the existence of a conspiracy to compass 
the ruin of the country. This evidence consisted of the pro- 
duction of correspondence between Mr. Wiman, Mr. Farrer 
and Mr. Hitt, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee 
of the House of Representatives and was composed of the 
following letters : 

Toronto, April 22 , i88q, 

My Dear Mr. Wiman : — Our Ottawa man will send a good sum- 
mary of your speech, so that on our account you need not go to the 
trouble of preparation. At present the C. U. movements is at a stand- 
still. First of all, the Jesuit agitation, which is here to stay, has to 
some extent supplanted it. Secondly, the general belief is that the 
Republicans would not listen to any such scheme. Thirdly, a very 
large number of people are inclined to think that we had better make 
for annexation at once, instead of making two bites of the cherry. 
Lastly, the old parties here are rapidly breaking up, and when Sir John 
goes we shall be adrift without a port in sight, save annexation. More- 
over, although the Liberals have taken up C.U., they are not pushing 
it with any vigour. For these reasons the Mail has, in the slang of the 
day, given the subject a rest. There is really no use talking it up to 
a people whose politics are in a state of flux, and whose future is wrapped 
in doubt. I saw Mr. Hoar, while at Washington, and told him just 
what he says I did, namely, that the smaller forces favour annexation, 
and will favour it all the more if C.U. be withheld. It seems to me, 
and I have talked the thing all over lately with Maritime members, as 
well as with Manitobans, that C.U. would only delay the coming of the 
event those people most desire. Hence, in the provinces referred to, 
C.U. does not take hold, whereas annexation will always demand a hear- 
ing. In Ontario the Jesuit campaign has brought that aspect of things 
home to thousands who would not look at C.U. The littleness and half- 
heartedness of the Liberals is also very disheartening. Then, again, 
the truth is that every man who preaches C.U. would prefer annexation, 
so that the party is virtually wearing a mask. Can’t you come round 
this way and have a talk ? Yours very truly, 

(Signed) E. Farrer. 




The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

House of Representatives, 

Washington, D.C., April 25, i88g. 

Erastus Wiman , Esq., 314 Broadway , New York. 

Dear Sir, — I am greatly obliged to you for sending to me the 
proof slips of the “ North American ” article, and have been much inter- 
ested also in Mr. Farrer’s letter, which surprised me somewhat, as I 
did not think from his conversation, which gave me a very favourable 
impression, that he would be so easily discouraged. The reasons he 
gives existed before the Commercial Union movement began with 
greater force than to-day. The Republicans as protectionists, it was 
apprehended, would be against it. They are not. Their representatives 
vote for it, their newspapers have received it kindly, and often with warm 
approval. The Jesuit agitation, which has taken the place of Commer- 
cial Union in his mind, is largely sentimental and will probably not 
last long. The other, C.U., is a business question that concerns each 
citizen, and in a way which he does not understand at first, but sees 
more and more clearly the more he talks intelligently about it. There 
is some logic in what F. says, of not making two bites of a cherry, but 
going for annexation at once, but I think he is misled on that point in 
a way that often occurs. Where a man is thinking much on a point 
and discussing it, he is liable to narrow his horizon to those within his 
reach, and his own mind, and perhaps those he meets, having passed 
on by discussion to distant results, he takes it for granted that the wide 
world, which is so wonderfully slow, has kept up with him and has the 
same results in sight. We must be very patient with the slow moving 
popular mind. If the Canadian public of farmers, artisans, lumbermen, 
miners and fishermen can be, in three years, argued up to the point of 
voting Commercial Union, and giving sanction to the movement in 
Parliament, it wlil be great progress. Slow as such movements are 
the comforting thing is that they never go backward. To you personally 
it ought to be in your moments of reflection a consolation that long here- 
after when this ball which you set rolling has gone on and on and 
finished its work, everyone may then look back and see and appreciate 
the services done to mankind by the hand that set it in motion. I shall 
look with interest for what you say in Ottawa. The North American 
Review article will have a powerful tendency to keep our public men 
from scattering away on annexation next winter, and I hope we can get 
the offer of Commercial Union formulated into law. I return the proof 
slips of the article and the letter of Mr. Farrer’s. Very truly yours, 


R R. Hitt. 

p.S. — Just received yours of yesterday with Goldwin Smith’s ; it 
reads admirably. 



The Policy of Protection — Marvellous National growth and increase since 1879 — 
Expansion of Foreign Trade — Exports to Great Britain and the United 
States — Interprovincial Trade — The farmer’s best market — Exports of 
Agricultural products by the United States — The condition of Canadian 
and American farmers compared — Prosperity in Ontario — Abandoned 
farms in the United States — American writers on the wretched condition 
of the farming community — Thousands hungry and cold in Chicago — 
Poverty and misery in all the great centres — Mr. Van Horne’s business- 
like letters — Loyalty and disloyalty — The result of the election — Sir John’s 
large majority in Kingston. 

T HE policy of protection, to which Sir John Macdonald 
referred in his manifesto, is contained in the resolu- 
tion moved by himself in the House of Commons on March 
7, 1878. 

“ Resolved, that this House is of opinion that the welfare 
of Canada requires the adoption of a National Policy, which, 
by a judicious readjustment of the tariff, will benefit the 
agricultural, the mining, the manufacturing and other interests 
of the Dominion ; that such a policy will retain in Canada 
thousands of our fellow-countrymen now obliged to expatriate 
themselves in search of the employment denied them at 
home ; will restore prosperity to our struggling industries now 
so sadly depressed ; will prevent Canada from being a sacri- 
fice market ; will encourage and develop an active interpro- 
vincial trade, and moving (as it ought to do) in the direction 
of a reciprocity of tariffs with our neighbours, so far as the 
varied interests of Canada may demand, will greatly tend to 
procure for this country eventually a reciprocity of trade.” 
And his statement that “ almost, as if by magic, the whole 
face of the country underwent a change. Stagnation and 
apathy and gloom — aye, and want and misery, too — gave 
place to activity and enterprise and prosperity. The miners 
of Nova Scotia took courage ; the manufacturing industries 
in our great centres revived and multiplied ; the farmer found 
a market for his produce, the artisan and labourer employ- 
ment at good wages, and all Canada rejoiced under the quick- 
ening influence of a new found life,” finds ample justification 



The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

and verification in the records of the past twelve years. A 
comparison of 1878 with 1890 shows the following marvellous 
national growth and increase : 


1890 Increase 

Miles of railway 

Tons of shipping. ....... 

Letters and post-cards 
carried by P.O. Dep. . 
Deposits in chartered 

and savings banks 

Money orders 

Bank note circulation. .. 
Production of coal (tons) 
Value exports of Canad- 
ian cheese 

Value exports of Canad- 
ian cattle 

Value exports of Canad- 
ian sheep 

Value exports of manu- 
factured wood 

Value exports of home 

6,143 13,988 7,845 

23,102,551 41,243,251 18,140,700 

50,840,000 113,580,000 63,140,000 

$88,995,126 $197,892,452 $108,900,326 
$7,130,000 $11,970,862 $4,777,862 

$29,786,805 $47,417,071 $17,631,266 

1,152,000 3,000,000 1,848,000 

$ 3 , 997,521 

$ 1 , 152,333 

$ 699,337 




$ 5 , 374,691 

$ 5 , 797,083 


$13,908,629 $20,659,348 $6,750,719 

$18,182,647 $25,530,003 $7,347,356 

The railway system, as will be seen, has more than doubled 
its mileage, but to get a better idea of the expansion, we must 
look at the amount of capital which has been invested, the 
traffic that has sprung up, the earnings and the working 
expenses. Ail these have increased more than 100 per cent, 
since the initiation of the National Policy, the figures being : 

Passengers carried 

Tons of freight carried 

Paid-up capital 

Gross earnings 

Working expenses 













The shipping in 1890 was nearly 18,000,000 tons greater than 
1878. so that to find employment for this increased tonnage, 
the water borne trade of the country must also have expanded 
to the extent of nearly eighty per cent. 

During the same period of time our foreign trade has also 
increased in a marked manner. For the five years — 1874-78 

National Growth and Increase Since 1879. 423 

t — previous to the introduction of the National Policy, the 
total foreign trade, imports and exports, amounted to 
$940,308,362. For the next five years — 1879-83 — it was 
$983,375,079. For 1884-88 it was $999,164,938, and the 
returns for 1889 and 1890, ($423,021,488), without allowing 
for any further increase, indicate that the amount up to 1893 
will aggregate $1,056,553,720. Sir John Macdonald went out 
of power at the end of the year 1873, when the imports and 
exports, for the year ending June 30, 1874, aggregated 
$217,565,560. F or the next five years they stood as follows : 

To June 30, 1875 
“ “ 1876 

“ “ 1877 

“ “ 1 878 

“ “ 1879 






He returned to power at the end of 1878, and, early in 
1879, introduced the National Policy. For the next fiscal 
year, ending June 30, 1880, the total trade amounted to 
$174,401,205. In 1881 it went up to $203,621,663, and since 
then it has only twice been below $200,000,000. For 1890 it 
was $218,000,000. 

Of this foreign trade the principal part of our exports went 
to Great Britain. 

Value of Exports By 

1 Year ending June joth . 

Great Britain . 

United States . 


... $36,295,718 









. . . . 45,274,461 




















1 890 



Total. .......... 



Average for twelve years . . . . 




The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

These figures disclose how unwise would be a policy that 
would encourage unrestricted reciprocity with the States, and 
discrimination against the mother country. 

There is also to be taken into consideration the interpro- 
vincial trade which has grown immensely of late years. This 
trade may be said to have become important only since Con- 
federation. In the Empire of December 28, 1889, appeared a 
letter from the pen of Mr. George Johnson, Dominion Statis- 
tician, from which the following facts are gleaned : 

“ Previous to 1854 the trade between Canada, then com- 
posed of the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec and the Mari- 
time Provinces, was small but growing. Then came the 
reciprocity treaty with the United States, and this diverted into 
United States channels so much of what scanty interprovincial 
trade did exist that the value of the direct trade between the 
provinces in 1865 — the last year of the treaty — was less by 
half a million of dollars than that in 1853 — the year immedi- 
ately preceding that in which the treaty came into operation, 
while in the last few years of the treaty the total trade between 
the Maritime Provinces and Canada averaged not more than 
$2,000,000 a year. 

“In 1866 the Grand Trunk established a line of steamers 
between Portland and Halifax and St. John, which effected a 
considerable increase in the trade, so that in the first year of 
our confederated life its value had increased to over $4,000,000, 
while the trade with the North-West was still practically nil. 

“The opening of the Intercolonial Railway in 1876, the 
completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway five years in 
advance of the stipulated time, and its extension from Mon- 
treal to St. John and Halifax .in 1889, afforded such increased 
facilities that, aided by the fostering influence of the National 
Policy, the trade increased by leaps and bounds. The inter- 
change of commodities between Ontario and Quebec is 
immense, and the interprovincial trade between the Maritime 
Provinces themselves is also very great, but there are no 
official figures, and exact estimates are difficult to make, so 
that Mr. Johnson, in his paper, regarded Ontario and Quebec 
as one division and the Maritime Provinces as another division. 

Inter-Provincial Trade. 


Adding all of Canada, west of the Lake of the Woods, as a 
third division, he gives these totals as the value of the inter- 
provincial trade actually in sight : 

Eastward from Ontario and Quebec $28,000,000 

Westward from Maritime Provinces 26,000,000 

Amount carried by U. S. Railways 1,500,000 

Between Eastern and Western Canada. 24,500,000 

Total $80,000,000 

As evidence of the rapidity with which this trade is 
increasing Mr. Johnson gives the further facts, that “the tonnage 
of vessels from the Maritime Provinces to the port of Quebec 
increased in 1887 by thirty-three per cent, over 1886, and by 
forty-seven per cent, over 1885. The wonderful development 
of this interprovincial trade will be further revealed by a 
glance at the following table of freight carried by the Inter- 
colonial Railway : 








Live Stock, 

Other Goods, 


.. 637,778 





1882. . . 

• 792,095 

560,2 53 





•• 739,091 





1890. . . 






And it is an unquestionable fact that this class of trade is the 
very best we can have. It is better than exports to a foreign 
country ; the purchases on both sides are made because of 
necessity, and if we could not afford the mutual supply the 
goods would come from abroad. As it now is, our own rail- 
ways and vessels carry the merchandise, and Canadian labour 
handles it. The profits, too, remain in the land.” 

An English writer says, that “ home trade, home produc- 
tion, home consumption, are three times the bulk and value of 
foreign trade,” but American writers place a much higher 
value upon them. It is, however, self evident that a market at 
his own door is the best possible one both for the farmer and 
the manufacturer, and that the greater the numbers of the 
latter who consume but do not produce articles of food, and 
who require raw materials for their business, the better must 
it be for the farming interests. It is equally true that it is in 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

the best interests of the manufacturer to find a market for his 
finished productions as near at hand as possible. 

“ In 1890,” said Mr. Blue, see Bureau of Industry reports, 
“ $440,000,000 worth of produce was raised by the farmers 
of Canada. Of this, $400,000,000 worth was consumed in 
Canada, only $13,000,000 went to the States, which, with a 
deduction of $5,000,000 imported here, left only $8,000,000 
worth actually sold in the United States. The city of 
Toronto consumed that much itself. Who dare say in view 
of this that we require the American market for the con- 
sumption of our products ? ” 

The farmer’s best market is, of course, the home market 
and the problem for our statesmen to solve is where will he 
find the readiest sale for his surplus productions after the 
home market has been satisfied ? This foreign market is 
naturally Great Britain, a country that buys annually nearly 
$500,000,000 worth of articles such as we produce, not the 
United States that has over $350,000,000 worth of the same 
articles to sell. 

The Canadian farmer has only to look at the vast quan- 
tities of produce consumed by Britain to realize where an 
inexhaustible market for Canadian farm products lies. The 
prices realized there are good, and such articles as cheese, 
meats and fruits as our farmers now send are among the best 
paying products of Canada. 

The British imports yearly of the very articles our farmers 
can readily supply are as follows : 

Cheese 203,765,508 lbs. 

Eggs 93,222,585 doz. 

Butter 189,326,409 lbs. 

Oats 54,2^7,997 bush. 

Barley 41,563,229 bush. 

Wheat 108,646,763 bush. 

Beef 110,447,975 lbs. 

Bacon 427,358,151 lbs. 

What other market in the world can make such a showing 

as this ? 

Does it follow that the United States is our “natural” 
market because it is our nearest ? Is not an over-crowded 

United States 5 Exports of Farm Produce. 427 

country like Great Britain, which cannot feed its own popula- 
tion, more of a “ natural 55 market than an essentially agri- 
cultural country, such as the United States, which produces 
and exports everything that our farms can produce and 
export ? Isa big farm on one side of the concession line 
the natural market for a smaller one across the way because 
it is nearer than the market town, or because the owners find 
it convenient to occasionally trade horses, or interchange 
seed ? 

And if proximity makes the United States the natural 
market for Canada, Canada must also be the natural market 
for the United States ? Are they not anxious to secure this 
“ natural 55 market? In the May number of The Forum, the 
Honourable Roger O. Mills, Democratic member of Congress, 
and author of the Mills’ Tariff Bill introduced in 1 888 , has 
an article on reciprocity in which he urges closer trade rela- 
tions with Canadians* because, that under reciprocity their 
trade with us would double in one year. Doubtless it would 
and perhaps more than that, but it would displace our own 
natural products or manufactures to the same extent and 
Canadian producers would have to leave off producing those 
articles they could not raise or make at equally low rates, 
with the result that our whole farming and manufacturing 
systems would have to be revolutionised to conform with the 
altered conditions. 

The United States exports hundreds of millions of dollars 
worth of precisely the same articles that our farmers raise. 
Therefore, if they become our customers it cannot be because 
they do not raise enough for their own wants. 

Many of the articles which they buy from us we see figur- 
ing in large quantities in their exports to Great Britain, and 
they, therefore, must buy in Canada as the cheapest market 
and sell in England as the dearest market, and pocket the 
commission made as middlemen. 

The following table shews the exports of the United States 
in cattle and their produce and in farm produce for the year 
1890 : 

428 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 


Number. . 











3 , 5 oi 

680 410 





All other and fowls 


Bones, hoofs, etc 

271 C'*'? 


. Bushels. . 





ioi, 973 , 7 I 7 



. Barrels . . 




. Bushels. . 


4 , 510,055 


. Pounds . . 




. Bushels. . 


1 , 279,814 




45 , 275,906 

“ flour 

. Barrels . . 

12,231,71 1 



. Dozens . . 


430 , 1 5 1 


. Barrels . . 




. .Tons 



Hides and skins 

1,828 6"K 

Beef, canned 

. Pounds . . 


6 , 787.193 

“ fresh 


173 , 237,506 


“ salted 




“ other cured 







5 242,158 

Bacon and hams 




Pork, pickled 



4 , 753,488 




33 , 455,520 


6 6 


2 i ,793 

All other meat products. . . 

93 L 77 o 






6 6 

95 , 376,053 


Seeds, clover, timothy, etc. 

2 , 543,521 

Tobacco leaf. 

21. IAQ.860 

Beans and pease 






Vegetables, canned 





Total $344,675,715 

A prominent member of the Liberal party made a speech 
at the Auditorium, Toronto, on February 13th, in which he 
endeavoured to prove that the Canadian farmers were not 
prosperous, that they were overwhelmed by mortgages on 
their property and suffering great injury by being excluded 

Prosperity of Canadian Farmers. 


from the United States market. His statement on this point 
was endorsed by the Globe on February 19th, in these words : 
“In fact the value of farm lands have greatly diminished and 
the amount of mortgage thereon much increased throughout a 
very large portion of this Dominion since 1879.” On the 
other hand the report of the Ontario Bureau of Industries for 
1 890, showed an average mortgage indebtedness (chattel and 
farm) on Ontario farm property of less than nine per cent, of 
its value, as compared with a mortgage indebtedness of fifteen 
per cent, of its value in 1878. 

The following table shows that the farmers of Ontario are 
steadily increasing in wealth and prosperity : 

Farm Lands. Buildings. Implements. 

1882. . .$632,342,500 $132,711,575 $37,029,815 

1883.. . 654,793,025 163,030,675 43,522,530 

1884.. . 625,478,706 173,386,925 47,830,710 

1885.. . 626,422,024 182,477,905 48,569,725 

1886.. . 648,009,828 183,748,212 50,530,936 

1887.. . 636,883,755 184,753,507 49,248,297 

1888.. . 640,480,801 188,293,226 49,754,832 

1889.. . 632,329,433 192,464,237 51,685,706 

Live Stock. Total. 

$80,540,720 $882,624,610 
100,082,365 961,428,595 

103,106,829 949,803,170 
100,690,086 958, 1 59,740 
107,208,935 989,497,911 

104,406,655 975,292,214 
102,839,235 981,368,094 

i °5,73 i ,288 982,210,664 

Some years ago (1886) the report of the statistican, 
American Department of Agriculture, contained, amongst 
other details of state indebtedness, the following regarding 
New York, which is generally considered to be the wealthiest 
state in the union : 

“ There are a large number of farms, which were purchased 
a few years ago and mortgaged, which now would not sell for 
more than the face of the mortgages, owing to the deprecia- 
tion of the farming lands, which, on an average, is fully thirty- 
three per cent, in ten years. Probably one-third of the farms 
in the state would not sell for more than the cost of the build- 
ings and other improvements, owing to the shrinkage. . . . 

The wages for farm help have been, for several years, thirty- 
three per cent, more than the business could bear.” 

The report sums up by stating that : 

“The result of the investigation in New York shows that 
three-tenths of the farms are mortgaged, and that one in 
twenty of the farm proprietors is hopelessly in debt.” 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

We have here, in contrast, the American official report 
regarding the condition of the farmers in the State of 
New York and the Canadian official report regarding the 
condition of the farmers of Ontario, the former declar- 
ing that the farms in New York have decreased thirty- 
three per cent, in ten years, and that one third would not 
bring more than the cost of the buildings and improvements, 
the latter declaring that Ontario farmers are $100,000,000 
better off than they were eight years ago. Even this large 
amount does not fully represent the advance made, for it must 
not be forgotten that during that space of time the cost of 
farm implements has fallen very much. 

If there is any farming community in the United States 
that ought to be prosperous it is the State of Illinois, where 
the farms lie all around the great city of Chicago, affording a 
market of over a million consumers of the minor products of 
the farm, and yet, excluding chattel mortgages, they owe over 
$147,000,000, the mortgage incumbrances increasing twenty- 
three per cent, between 1880 and 1887, or twice the ratio of 
increase in the value of the land. 

In the report of the Illinois Bureau of Labour Statistics for 
1888 it is stated that “there are 8,082,794 acres of Illinois 
land under mortgage, besides the mortgages on 237,336 lots 
and on chattels.” It appears that there were filed in 1887 a 
total of 125,923 new mortgages for the immense sum of 
$1 17,1 52,857. The report winds up by saying: “ Averaging 
the total mortgage indebtedness, as estimated by the state 
administration, it makes a debt of $520 for every head of 
family in the state, while the new debt contracted in 1887 
alone makes $146.25 for each head of family. . . . The 

condition of Kansas and other western states is even 

An American writer, Mr. J. R. Elliott, has published a 
book on American farmers, in which he says : 

“ One who has been familiar with the past history of the 
farm homes of a country, who has known of the struggles and 
triumphs of the early possessors of these properties, cannot but 
be saddened when he sees them, one after another, abandoned, 


Decadence of Farming Interests in U. S. 433 

the lands to become the pasture domain of more successful 
estates, or to be entirely given over to the public common. 

“ Large tracts of country — away from the towns and cities 
— in the old states and provinces of America are thus being 
transformed ; and not only are these manifestations of failure 
on the part of our old farms to hold their own against the con- 
ditions of the times not confined to the old states, but are 
rapidly extending over the continent. 

“ Through the Boston Advertiser , a rather conservative 
journal, we have the following graphic picture of the desolation 
which already reigns over portions of Massachusetts, once the 
settlements of happy and prosperous farmers : 

“ ‘ Throughout the State of Massachusetts, away from the 
‘ cities and the large towns, may be met, besides oral reports, 

‘ traces of farms once yielding a support to their occupants, but 
‘ now abandoned. The signs of former tenancy are to be found 
‘ in conditions varying from the indications of recent occupancy 
‘ to those of a generation or longer ago. Sometimes the 
‘ dwelling house has a look of neatness, in its white paint and 
‘green blinds, not yet yielding much to the weather. The 
‘ barns, waggon sheds, corn cribs and other outbuildings will be 
‘blackened of course, from exposure of their unpainted surface 
‘ but yet have in them wear and utility. But the stillness of a 
‘ solitude haunts the place and the sign, affixed to a tree, “ For 
‘ Sale,” stirs in the practical observer the suspicious question, 
‘ Why ? 

“ ‘ The storms of several decades have worn the paint away. 
‘ The clapboards are darkening in the weather. The mortar 
‘ has crumbled from between the bricks in the chimneys, 
‘ so that you see the light of the sky through the crevices. 

‘ Some of the panes in the windows are broken. The front 
‘ door hangs ajar. The wind sighs through the empty wood- 
‘ shed. The outbuildings, first to go, are falling in. Acres of 
‘ land, once cultivated, lie around. The sign announcing the 
‘ place as being for sale is broken, and hanging by a single nail, 
‘ and the words are almost untraceable. 

“‘Another scene will represent a ruin. The roof has 
• tumbled in. The charming prospect of hill and dale and 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

1 wood and setting sun is now never more to be shut out from 
‘ the front door, where once the busy housewife may have 
‘ sometimes glanced, for the door is swung far back and gaping 
‘ on the scene, and no one is there to push it to. At some 
‘ time or other the barn fell down, and the boards and timbers 
‘are rotting from the repeated dryings and wettings. It is a 
‘ scene of desolation. The suggestiveness of former tenancy 
‘ imparts to it a melancholy, such as a mere old cellar or the 
‘ traces of a stone underpinning do not have. These, too, may 
‘be found sometimes in the midst of lonely woods, where the 
‘ trees have grown up in the fields formerly ploughed and 
‘sowed, so that the owner is already counting on their value 
‘ at some lone sawmill. But where the remnant of a frame is 
‘ standing, it suggests the farmer’s hopes, the housewife’s 
‘ counsels, the ploughboy’s whistle, once known here, now gone 
‘ forever. 

“ ‘ Large areas are now offered for sale. The prices asked 
‘for the land are low compared with the prices asked for land 
‘ in the places where the population is growing.’ 

“ A writer in the Grange Homes , of Boston,. mentions seeing 
farms sold in Vermont for less than the cost of the buildings 
upon them. He pertinently suggests the query : ‘ The fathers 
‘among the hills were. poor, but they cleared away the forests, 
‘ raised and educated families and built homes. Why do the 
‘buildings now sell for less than they are worth, with ioo or 
‘ 200 acres of land thrown in to make the trade ? Yes, why are 
‘ these lands being abandoned ? Why are the farmers becoming 
‘ mere tenants ? Why are mortgages settling down on the old 
‘ farms of America ? ’ ” 

At page 40 Mr. Elliott says : 

“ It is admitted now on all sides that farm industry is not 
progressing in New England ; rather, fast losing ground.” 

At page 42 he goes on : 

, “ The decadence of the agricultural interest in New Ham- 
shire and Vermont is now the object of official investigation. 
Mr. B. Valentine, Commissioner of Agriculture for Vermont, 
fi,rxds that good areas of tillable land c^n be bought in his state 
at prices approximating those of western lands. Two hundred 

Decadence of Farming Interests in U. S. 435 

acre farms, with ‘ fair buildings/ good orchards and plenty of 
timber, are being sold for less than $1,000. In some counties 
large tracts of land of fair quality can be be bought for $3 or 
$4 per acre. Town Clerk Fuller, of Vershire, Vermont, says : 
‘We have many abandoned farms in different parts of our 
‘ towns, with good buildings on them, that could be bought for 
‘$5 or less per acre. All this land was once occupied by 
‘thrifty and prosperous farmers/ 

“In forty-five agricultural townships in Connecticut the 
decrease of wealth in the eleven years 1865-76 amounted to 
$1,893,172 ; between 1876 and 1886 the decrease ran up to 
$2,741,520. Out of 603 farmers interviewed 378 show a 
yearly loss. As we travel away from New England to more 
western lands we meet the same cry — the decline of agricul- 
ture. The report on the financial affairs of the farmers of 
Nebraska (1887-88) shows that of 215 farmers, over fifty per 
cent, stated that they were losing money.’/ 

And at page 47, on the same subject, he says respecting 
the state of Michigan : 

“ The opinion of the labour commissioners of Michigan, 
that the mortgages upon the farms of that state' operate as a 
‘ mammoth sponge ’ upon the labours of the owners, is the 
growing feeling of the majority of the. farmers all over 
America — the older parts at least. The farms of Michigan 
surround the great iron industries of the west. The state now 
contains large centres of population, and its lands are fertile 
and productive, and yet the farmers are evidently on the 
downward track.” 

Following up this question of mortgages, at page forty- 
nine he gives the following picture : 

“ The picture given of life on Saturday in a Kansas town 
is certainly a startling one: ‘It matters not how dull the 
‘town has been during the week, on Saturday the streets are 
‘crowded with people ; on that day chattels are sold to satisfy 
‘the overdue mortgages. At present these sales are numerous 
‘in the west, outside of the corn belt, and a very large portion 
‘of these do not realize sufficient to pay the mortgages. 
‘Teams, waggons and horned stock, which six months ago 


436 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

‘were considered ample security for a loan of from $100 to 
‘$150, frequently fetch at public auction twenty-five per cent, 
‘less than the price of the mortgage.’ ” 

At page sixty-three he quotes an authority well known 
throughout the whole continent, as follows : 

“The Honourable David A. Wells says: ‘A few years 
‘ago the inhabitants of Ludlow, formerly a most prosperous 
‘town in Windsor county, Vermont, memorialized the legis- 
lature to the effect that there were twelve deserted farms 
‘within the town (townships) limits, and asked permission to 
‘guarantee to any person who would lease and work them 
‘exemption from taxation, local and state, for a considerable 
‘term of years.’ He also states : ‘All over New England 
‘farms in abundance can now be purchased for less than the 
‘cost of the improvements upon them — yes, for less than the 
‘cost of the construction of their stone walls.’ ” 

Our extracts are already lengthy, but let us call another 
witness, no less than Judge Nott, of the U.S. Court of Claims. 
Writing to the New York Post on November n, 1889, he 
says : 

“ Midway between Williamstown and Brattleboro’ a few 
years ago I saw on the summit of a hill against the evening 
sky what seemed a large cathedral. Driving thither I found 
a huge, old-time two storey church, a large academy (which 
had blended in the distance with the church), a village with 
a broad street, perhaps 150 feet in width. I drove on and 
found that the church was abandoned, the academy dis- 
mantled, the village deserted. The farmer who owned the 
farm on the north of the village lived on one side of the broad 
street, and he who owned the farm on the south lived on the 
other, and they were the only inhabitants. All of the others 
had gone to the manufacturing villages, to the great cities, 
to the west. Here had been industry, education, religion, 
comfort and contentment, but there remained only a drear 
solitude of forsaken homes.” 

The same story as to the wretched condition of the 
American farmers was brought out in the evidence given 
before the Committee of Ways and Means of the United 

Decadence of Farming Interests in U. S. 437 

States Congress, before the adoption of the McKinley Tariff 
It has all along been said by the leading American statesmen 
that the McKinley Bill was not meant to injure Canada but 
simply to afford relief to their own farmers by giving them 
protection against outside competition, and thus somewhat 
improve their condition. That this assistance was necessary, 
and, therefore, that no efforts of Canada will induce the 
Americans to allay the strictness of that Bill, was amply proved 
before this Committee. The American farmers are in such 
sore straits that even with the great market of 65,000,000, of 
which we have heard so much, they demand to be protected 
from all competition which will further increase the immense 
surplusage of farm produce which must seek a foreign 
market. In reading this evidence it must be remembered 
that it was given by Americans before the American Con- 
gress, and was published for the information of their own 
people, without any thought of Canadian elections. Let our 
farmers read the story and say if they are willing to reduce 
themselves to the same condition. 

If unrestricted reciprocity were brought about our 
farmers might expect to occupy a position similar to that 
of the farmers of the State of New York, brought about by 
the competition with western prairie fed cattle. The follow- 
ing is taken from the New York Times of February 13, 1891 : 

“ Never before was the market value of beef cattle so low. 
At the present prices prevailing no farmer can feed cattle 
without such a loss as to wholly neutralize the value of the 
resulting manure, to which he has been in the habit of looking 
for a part of his profit. Just now the feeding of cattle is the 
most unprofitable part of agriculture, * and thus the ancient 
maxim that it was the most important part of the farmer’s 
vocation becomes wholly obsolete. The reason is not far 
to seek. The low price of western dressed beef has reduced 
the value of stock to this inadequate point. Sides of beef 
are retailed from the refrigerator cars at six and seven cents 
a pound, or less when competition is to be destroyed. The 
western cattle are fed on the public lands, which are free to 
the use of stock owners without any charge. Thus, the rang- 

438 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

ing of stock comes into disastrous competition with farmers 
whose lands represent large investments and which are taxed 
on this basis. Good steers fed on farms have been sold at 
two cents and less per pound. This low price does not pay 
the cost. And as there is no other product which helps to 
make up this loss, feeding is stopped, and the grain and hay 
formerly used in this way is thrown upon an already over- 
loaded market.” 

While the farmers of the United States are much less 
prosperous than those on the northern side of the border line, 
the wretchedness and misery in the large cities is something 
terrible to behold. Read the following headlines taken from 
two consecutive members of the Chicago Herald in the early 
part of this year 1891 : 



Many Touching Cases Where Desewing People Are Struggling to 
Secure the Bare Necessaries of Life Discovered by 
the “ Heralds ” Relief Corps. 


Men Seeking for Work While Their Families are Starving. 

Relief Afforded a Worthy Family Which Was on the Verge of 



Many Families on the North Side Are Suffering the Pangs of Hunger. 


Many Contributions Being Received by fhe “ Heralds ” Corps That 
Will Go Far Towards Relieving the Distress 
Throughout the City. 

Mr. Van Horne on Unrestricted Reciprocity. .439 


Pitiful Condition of Many Children and Sick Men and Women, 
in the Polish Quarter. 

Families Slowly Starving While They Vainly Seek for Work. 


Families Hungry and Cold and Sorely in Need of Help. 

The Rochester, Buffalo, New York, Philadelphia and 
Detroit papers reveal the same deplorable state of affairs 
among the poor of these cities. The folldwing is the summing 
up of a long article in the Detroit Sun ; 

“ The poverty in all our great centres of civilization, as 
well as throughout the landlord and mortgage cursed frontiers 
of our land is, year by year, growing more terrible and more 

“ In the city of New York there are over 150,000 people 
who earn less than sixty cents a day. Thousands of this 
number are poor girls who work from eleven to sixteen hours 
a day. Last year there were over 23,000 families forcibly 
evicted in that city, owing to their inability to pay their rent. 
One person in every ten who died in New York in 1889 was 
buried in the Potter’s field. Those are facts which may well 
give rise to anxious thoughts.” 

Do we ever hear of such hardships, wretchedness and 
misery in Canada ? 

The effect that unrestricted reciprocity would have upon 
our trade and commerce was very forcibly put by Mr. Van 
Horne, President of the Canadian Pacific Railway, in a letter 
addressed by him to Senator Drummond, and published 
by the latter in all the leading papers. Being an American 
by birth, education and training, and having spent the best 
years of his life in that country, it may fairly be presumed 
that his thoughts and aspirations would be strongly in favour 
of closer connections with the United States, and that he 
would appreciate, as fully as any man could, the advantages 
which would flow from unrestricted reciprocity. When, there- 
fore, we find him coming forward and giving expression to 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

the strongest opinions against that policy, and backing his 
views with statements, the truth and force of which must 
strike every thoughtful person, we are compelled to give him 
the greatest possible attention. The first of these letters was 
written in reply to one from Mr. Drummond, and was as 
follows : 

Montreal, February 21, 1891. 

My Dear Mr. Drummond : 

You are quite right in assuming that the statement in the letter 
enclosed in your note of to-day is untrue. I am not in favour of unre- 
stricted reciprocity or anything of the kind. I am well enough acquainted 
with the trade and industries of Canada to know that unrestricted 
reciprocity would bring prostration or ruin. I realize that for saying this 
I may be accused of meddling in politics, but with me this is a business 
question and not a political one, and it so vitally affects the interests that 
have been entrusted to me that I feel justified in expressing my opinion 
plainly. Indeed, since opposite views have been attributed to me, I feel 
bound to do so. No one can follow the proceedings in Congress at 
Washington, and the utterances of the leading newspapers of the United 
States, without being struck with the extraordinary jealousy that prevails 
there concerning Canada — jealousy growing out of the wonderful develop- 
ment of her trade and manufactures within the past twelve years. It was 
this jealousy that prompted the Anti-Canadian features of the McKinley 
Bill. It was represented and believed at Washington that the Canadian 
farmers largely depended on the United States for a market for many of 
their chief products, and that their loyalty could be touched through their 
pockets, and that it was only necessary to “ put on the screws ” to bring 
about a political upheaval in Canada, and such a reversal of the trade 
policy of the country as would inevitably lead to annexation. I have 
found it necessary to keep well informed as to the drift of matters at 
Washington, because the interests of the Canadian Pacific Railway have 
been threatened by all sorts of restrictive measures ; and from my know- 
ledge of the feeling there, I do not hesitate to say that if the result of the 
pending elections in Canada is what the authors of the McKinley Bill 
expected it would be, another turn of the screw will follow. No comfort 
is to be found in the recent disaster to the Republican Party in the 
United States. It was not the anti-Canadian features of the McKinley 
Bill that caused this, but it was the heavily increased duties on many 
articles, the manufacture of which, at home, was intended to be forced. 
This increase of duties came at a time of general depression among the 
farmers and working classes, and it was resented by them. Trade 
relations with Canada had nothing to do with it. They were not thinking 
of us. Putting aside all patriotic considerations and looking at the 
question of unrestricted reciprocity from a strictly business standpoint, 

Mr. Van Horne on Unrestricted Reciprocity. 441 

What, in the name of common sense, has Canada to gain by it at this 
time ? Thousands of farms in the New England States are abandoned ; 
the farmers of the Middle States are all complaining, and those of some 
of the Western States are suffering to such an extent that organized relief 
is necessary. The manufacturers everywhere are alarmed as to their 
future, and most of them are reducing their output, working on short time 
and seeking orders at absolute cost, so that they may keep their best 
workmen together. We are infinitely better off in Canada. We have 
no abandoned farms and no distress anywhere, and there is work for 
everybody who is willing to work. Our neighbours’ big mill 
pond is very low just now, but our smaller one is, at least, full 
enough to keep us going comfortably. His pond requires twelve times 
as much as ours to fill. It is not necessary that a small boy should 
be a school-boy to know what the result would be if we were to cut our 
dam. Our pond would at once fall to the level of the other. Even if we 
were suffering from hard times we could gain nothing by unrestricted 
reciprocity. No man of sense would seek partnership with one worse off 
than himself because he happened to be hard up. You can’t make a 
good egg out of two bad ones. The Canadian Pacific Railway is far 
away the largest buyers of manufactured articles in Canada. It buys 
dry goods and groceries, as well as locomotives and cars ; it buys pins 
and needles and millinery goods, as well as rails and splices and spikes ; 
it buys drugs and medicines and clothing, as well as bolts and wheels and 
axles. It buys almost every conceivable thing, and it is necessarily in 
close touch with the markets at home and abroad. It has built up, or 
been instrumental in building up, hundreds of new industries in the 
country, and it is the chief support of many of them, and its experience 
with these markets and these industries justifies my belief that unre- 
stricted reciprocity with the United States, and a joint protective tariff 
against the rest of the world would make New York the chief distributing 
point for the Dominion instead of Montreal and Toronto; would localize 
the business of the ports of Montreal and Quebec, and destroy all hope of 
the future of the ports of Halifax and St. John ; would ruin three-fourths 
of our manufactories ; would fill our streets with the unemployed ; would 
make Eastern Canada the dumping ground for the grain and flour of the 
Western States to the injury of our own North-West, and would make 
Canada generally the slaughter market for the manufactures of the United 
States, all of which would be bad for the Canadian Pacific Railway as well 
as for the country at large ; and this is my excuse for saying so much. I 
am not speaking for the Canadian Pacific Railway Company ; nor as a 
Liberal or a Conservative, but only as an individual much concerned in 
the business interests of the country, and full of anxiety lest a great 
commercial, if not a national, mistake should be made. 

(Signed) Yours truly, 

W. C. Van Horne. 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

Sir John Macdonald concluded his last appeal to the Can- 
adian electors in these words : 

“ I commend these issues to your determination, and to 
the judgment of the whole people of Canada, with an 
unclouded confidence that you will proclaim to the world 
your resolve to show yourselves not unworthy of the proud 
distinction that you enjoy — of being numbered among the 
most dutiful and loyal subjects of our beloved Queen. As for 
myself, my course is clear. A British subject I was born — a 
British subject I will die. With my utmost effort, with my 
latest breath, will I expose the ‘ veiled treason ’ which 
attempts, by sordid means and mercenary proffers, to lure our 
people from their allegiance. During my long public service 
of nearly half a century I have been true to my country and 
its best interests, and I appeal with equal confidence to the 
men who have trusted me in the past, and to the young hope 
of the country, with whom rest its destinies for the future, to 
give me their united and strenuous aid in this my last effort 
for the unity of the Empire and the preservance of our com- 
mercial and political freedom.” 

Some Liberal speakers stated on the platform that their 
party had been called disloyal because they desired free trade 
with the United States, but that was hardly correct. It is 
permissible for any political party to advocate any trade 
policy which they honestly believe to be in the interests of the 
country, without laying themselves open to reproach, but 
loyalty, as taught by Sir John Macdonald and as understood 
by all true Canadians, is to believe in British connection, to be 
proud of our share in the glorious history of the mother 
country, to desire to perpetuate the institutions and principles 
which there prevail, to consider that Canada owes gratitude 
and allegiance for benefits received in the past and to be pre- 
pared to resist any efforts which may result in weakening the 
ties which bind us to the old land from which we sprang. 
With his “utmost effort,” with his “ latest breath ” Sir John 
opposed those. 

“ Who fain would lop, with felon stroke, 

The branches of our British oak, 

Loyalty and Disloyalty. 


And, wronging the great Canadian heart 
Would deem her honour cheaply sold 
For higher prices in the mart, 

And increased hoard of gold. 

and encouraged the people of this country to feel and to pro- 
claim to the world that, 

“ Our pride of race we have not lost, 

And aye it is our loftiest boast 
That we are Britons still ! 

And in the gradual lapse of years, 

We look, that ’neath these distant skies, 

Another Britain shall arise, — 

A noble scion of the old — 

Still to herself and lineage true, 

And prizing honour more than gold.” 

This feeling is not confined to Conservatives ; it animates 
also the wisest and best men of the Reform party, but, unfor- 
tunately, there are others whose views are distinctly and 
emphatically in favour of courses antagonistic to our present 
relations with Great Britain and in favour of new ties with the 
United States, who, while not exactly identified with that 
party, are in antagonism to the Conservative party. These 
men sneer at loyalty, disbelieve in patriotism, make light 
of our allegiance to the British Empire, and lose no oppor- 
tunity of working with tongue and with pen to destroy the 
noblest sentiments and aspirations of our national lives. They 
slander and belittle our country, proclaim Confederation as a 
fraud, and the establishment of Dominion unity as a dream ; 
prate of corruption, debt and taxation, and hold up absorption 
into the United States as the only panacea for the evils under 
which we lie, a policy which all true Canadians regard as dis- 
graceful, disloyal and contemptible in both its inception and 
its advocacy. And, although these views may have no impor- 
tance in the eyes of the people of the country as a whole, and 
may not even commend themselves to the Liberal audience to 
which they are addressed, it is quite certain that signs of 
approval and applause given to persistent detractors of our 
national position and future prospects — even if conceded only 
as an act of courtesy — are not calculated to impress outsiders 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

with an idea of intense loyalty. But we do not believe that 
these persons voice the views of that great party. We prefer 
to accept them as laid down by the Globe in its issue of March 
4, 188; : 

“ The value of Canada’s political status is not to be 
measured in dollars and cents. Who that loves British con- 
nection will appraise his feeling in money ? Where is the 
U. E. Loyalist who will name a price at which he would 
be willing to see Brock’s monument and the field of Lundy’s 
Lane under the flag of those against whom his ancestors 
fought ? Where is the French-Canadian willing to sell out 
the pride with which he thinks of the battle-ground of 
Chateauguay ? 

Are young Canadians of so poor a spirit that they will 
speculate in their patriotism and national aspirations ? We do 
not believe it. Those who reckon Canadians as five millions 
of stomachs make a profound mistake. Unreasonable they 
may be called, but the sort of unreasonableness that keeps 
people from subordinating their affections or sentiments to 
their pockets has been universally defined as Honour. 

“ Can Canada satisfy its demands and yet enter into the 
customs union that we think would be profitable ? The ques- 
tion is surely one to be discussed in a larger spirit than some 
of our contemporaries display. 

“ One unfortunate result of division of Canadian parties on 
fiscal lines has been to imbue the people largely with the false 
and dangerous notion that political institutions are not of the 
first importance. Compared with the preservation of our 
responsible Government the scale of our tariff is of little 
moment. It should be thought of as nothing more than 
a scheme of taxation to provide for the main concern — the 
maintenance of our institutions. By treating the tariff as an 
end instead of a means, the doctrine that self-government is 
not priceless has been insiduously, perhaps unintentionally, 

“ The loyal and patriotic people of Canada can draw 
a deep breath of relief this morning, and humbly and 
reverently return thanks to the Almighty Dispenser of all good 

Result of First Vote. 


that He so touched the hearts of the people that they rose in 
their might and entered a vigorous protest against the trait- 
orous attempt to betray the country to a foreign nation” 

These were the words with which the Ottawa Citizen com- 
menced the announcement to its readers of the result of the 
election, and there is no doubt that it found a response in the 
bosoms of many who eagerly looked for the first news of the 
contest. It was a desperate struggle from the first, and, from 
the nature of the issue, was watched with great eagerness by 
the outside world, and more especially by Great Britain and 
the United States. It was interesting, as well as amusing, to 
note the results as calculated by the different papers. The 
Empire put the Government majority at forty-two ; and, from 
that point, it descended through other Conservative papers to 
thirty-two, the figure of the Montreal Gazette. Of the Oppo- 
sition papers, the Mail conceded twenty-nine ; the Globe 
twenty-seven ; and so on down to the Ottawa Free Press , 
which would not allow more than four. The New York Times 
gave only one. Then the figures ran the other way, the 
Quebec Telegraph claiming a majority of twenty for the 
Liberals, and the U Electeur five more. Many men, especially 
from the Province of Quebec, were claimed by both parties, so 
that the question could not be decided until a vote was taken. 
By the division on Mr. Cameron’s franchise motion, and subse- 
quent declarations by members, it was ascertained that the 
Government could rely on a majority of about thirty-one in a 
full House. 

The result of the first vote may be tabulated as follows : 





.. 48 






Nova Scotia 


1 1 

New Brunswick 







British Columbia 




N. W. Territories 




P. E. Island 


Less Opposition majority in 

Quebec and P.E.I 


... 7 

Total Conservative majority 

•• 3i 

446 The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

This indicates a majority of four in Ontario, the leading 
province in the Dominion, and an overwhelming majority in 
every other province except Quebec and Prince Edward Island. 

Sir John Macdonald had a magnificent personal victory in 
Kingston. His majority of seventeen in 1887 being increased 
to four hundred and eighty-three. The defeat of Mr. Colby in 
Stanstead was one of the most regrettable incidents of the 
campaign. He was a representative of great ability, of whom 
his Province had reason to be proud. 


Sir John’s strength gives way under the great strain of the campaign — He has an 
attack of nervous and physical' prostration — Which is followed by paralysis 
and hemorrhage on the brain — Sad scenes in the House of Commons when 
the nigh approach of death is announced — His hour of rest had come — 
Canada’s grief — Memorable scenes when Sir Hector Langevin announces 
his death — Mr. Laurier’s noble tribute — Lying in state — The funeral at 
Ottawa — The journey to Kingston — Lying in state in the City Hall — To 
Cataraqui cemetery — The final scene — Movements to erect monuments to 
his memory — Memorial services in Westminster Abbey — A memorial to be 
erected in St. Paul’s Cathedral — Lord Dufferin’s tribute — Lines by Mrs. 

HE extraordinary exertions made by Sir John Macdon- 

ald during the election would have been creditable to a 
young man, but for a man past seventy-six years of age, they 
were simply marvellous. He, however, over-estimated his 
strength, and when he arrived at Kingston was quite unwell 
and very much exhausted. His medical advisers enjoined 
complete abstention from work, but his energy and anxiety 
impelled him to break through their kindly restrictions, and 
in a day or two he was actively participating in the campaign. 
After the election was over he returned to Ottawa, and it was 
hoped that he would then take a rest and thereby secure a 
sufficient return of strength to be able to meet Parliament and 
undergo the fatigues of the session. Had it been possible for 
him to have done this, or had he been willing to leave his post 
and go away for a holiday, he might have recovered and been 
spared to his country for some time to come, but the labour 
of preparing for the session, following so soon after the excite- 
ment and bustle of the campaign, was too much for him. 
When Parliament opened he was able to attend and direct 
proceedings, but it was evident to all that he was not himself. 
An unusual appearance of weariness was perceptible at times, 
and it was observable that he was physically weak although 
his mind was clear and bright as ever. He was always 
cheerful, however, and moved about among his supporters 
vol n. 449 29 

Life’s race well run, 

Life's work well done, 
Life’s crown well won, 

Now comes rest. 


The Life of Sir John A. Macdonald. 

delighting them with anecdotes, or saying some kindly word. 
After a few days his place was vacant and it was rumoured 
that he had experienced a fit of exhaustion similar to that 
which overtook him at Kingston. A week or so later he was 
again in his place still looking unwell, but apparently better. 
His last appearance in the House was on Friday, May 22nd, 
when he was in good spirits, jocular and full of life. The next 
evening he gave a large dinner party. During the early part 
of the next week it was known that he was not so well, but 
nothing serious was apprehended. On Monday he was suffer- 
ing from a slight cold, but attended to business at Earnscliffe. 
On Wednesday his symptoms became more unfavourable, and 
Dr. Powell, his regular physician, expressed a desire for a 
consultation. Sir John agreed and Drs. Ross and Stewart of 
Montreal were sent for. The physicians met on the following 
day, and after examining their patient, issued this bulletin : 

Earnscliffe, May 28 , 1891. 

Sir John Macdonald has had a return of his attack of physical and 
nervous prostration, and we have enjoined complete rest for the present 
and entire freedom from public business. 

R. W. Powell, M.D., Ottawa. 

Geo. Ross, M.D., Montreal . 

Jas. Stewart, M.D., Montreal. 

While it was recognized that it would be unlikely, if not 
impossible, that Sir John would be able to take his place again 
during the session, a hopeful feeling was experienced that his 
immense vitality would enable him to recover, and that a 
period of thorough rest would so recuperate his strength that 
he could once more resume the duties of his high position. 

On Friday morning re-assuring tidings were conveyed in 
the following bulletin, which was posted in the hotels and all 
places of general resort : 

Earnscliffe, May 29 , 10 a.m. 

The Premier passed a quiet and comfortable night, and this morn- 
ing his physical strength shows distinct improvement since yesterday. 

(Signed) R. W. Powell, M.D. 

At 10.30 Sir John Thompson had an interview with him 
for about half an hour. Although all business had been for- 

His Hour of Rest Had Come. 


bidden by his physicians, the Premier could not refrain from 
following his old routine and during the day gave directions^ 
with regard to certain matters that required attention. At two 
o’clock a cablegram of enquiry and sympathy was received 
from H.R.H. the Princess Louise, to which he dictated the 
reply : “ Thanks for your gracious message. Am improving.” 
At three o’clock, when the House met, the excitement had some- 
what abated, and at fouro’clock, when Dr. Powell called, he found 
Sir John sitting up and seeming better. In answer to enquiries 
he was telling how he felt and what nourishment he had 
taken, when the terrible stroke of paralysis came, and he sank 
back unconscious. Further medical aid was at once summoned, 
but hemorrhage on the brain had succeeded the paralysis and 
the doctors feared that death would ensue in a few hours. 
The sad news was conveyed to Sir Hector Langevin in a note 
from Sir James Grant, and by him communicated to the House 
of Commons. 

Never in the history of Parliament was there a more affect- 
ing scene than that which followed the motion for adjourn- 
ment. As the Premier’s old companion, his own eyes full of 
tears, announced the nigh approach of death to one whom 
they all revered and loved, sympathetic glances and sympa- 
thetic words were exchanged by political friend and political 
foe, every face was a picture of sorrow, and the dimmed eyes 
of his old friends showed that the loss of their leader would be 
a personal bereavement, while among his opponents nothing 
was heard but the kindest words of the stricken statesman, the 
greatest admiration for his abilities, and the deepest regret at 
the prospect of his death. 

But the end was not to be yet. The dauntless spirit strug- 
gled hard, and when the last bulletin was issued that night all 
hope was not destroyed : 

Earnscliffe, 11 p.m. 

Sir John’s condition still continues very precarious. Loss of power of 
speech. Respiration and circulation weak. Rests somewhat better than 
during the afternoon. 

Takes a moderate degree of liquid nourishment. 

(Signed) R. W. Powell, M.D. 

J. A. Grant, M.D. 

Henry P. Wright, M.D.